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July 10, 1998

AMHERST, N.S.- “Gross lease” schools spell bad news for employees who will be tossed on the scrap heap by new private managers, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Terry Goulding, provincial co-ordinator for 2,800 school board employees represented by CUPE, said “old fashion union-busting” will be one of the major by-products of this new concept if it goes ahead.

The province announced plans this week for its first “gross lease”- as opposed to “net lease”- school. The institution is to be built in Amherst by Ashford Investment Inc., a private consortium. A $50-million, 20-year agreement has been negotiated by the province and the consortium. It is the first of more than 30 new public-private schools that the province plans to build in the next several years.

“This gross lease concept is a gross deal for maintenance employees who stand to lose their jobs,” Goulding said. “Hundreds of maintenance employees across Nova Scotia will be let go if this concept is not modified. And more than 1,000 could be affected if janitorial services also end up being affected.”

Maintenance employees in Amherst are scheduled to become CUPE members under a new contract negotiated with the Chignecto Central School Board. But Ashford Investments has said it has no plans to hire them, Goulding noted.

“They’re just going to pitch them out the door. This action speaks volumes about the pro-corporate agenda of Nova Scotia’s Liberal government and their Tory supporters. Many of these maintenance workers have decades of experience,” he said.

Goulding has asked for an urgent meeting with the private sector consortium to discuss the issue.

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Further information: Terry Goulding: (902) 752-2244 or (h) (902) 755-2158

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