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(Port Hawkesbury) - The union representing school board workers at the Strait Regional School Board says it is in complete agreement with the board on the issue of not allowing P3 schools owner Ashford Investments to terminate its contract with the board.

The company owns several P3 schools in both the Strait and Chignecto-Central School Boards. The schools are currently cleaned and maintained by Board employees CUPE members. Ashford says it wants to end that arrangement.

CUPE Local 955 says this confirms what theyve been saying all along, that P3 schools were a bad deal for Nova Scotians.

CUPE National Representative Terry Goulding says, We are at odds to understand how a company could simply terminate a signed, 20-year contract. A contract is a contract and if it’s this easy to terminate, wed no doubt be creating chaos with other P3 contracts in the province.

Goulding says the company must use the dispute mechanism built into the P3 contract. This will resolve any differences between the School Board and Ashford.

Says Goulding, If Ashford is successful in terminating its contract, CUPE Local 955 will demand that the collective agreement and the rights of our members be respected.

We will demand that current employees be maintained as Board employees and Ashford will pay a fee for service to the school board for the work being done in Ashford-owned buildings. We see this debacle as another nail in the coffin for P3 schools, says Goulding.

For information:
Terry Goulding, CUPE National Representative, New Glasgow office - (902) 752-2244 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative, Halifax office - (902) 455-4180 (o)