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New Glasgow Custodians at the Chignecto Central Regional School Board will start their first forced layoff of the year on December 25th, Christmas Day.

Its a nasty Christmas present for both the employees and our schools, says Henk Admiraal, President of the employees union, Local 3890 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

To save $400,000 in the annual budget, the government has forced the school board in laying off cleaning staff over Christmas and March breaks, and for four weeks during the summer. 170 employees will be laid off at about 100 schools in the region.

These are the times of year when deep cleaning is done in the classrooms and preventative maintenance occurs, says Admiraal. Cutting maintenance will only lead to faster deterioration of our schools, and more mould-related health problems among staff and students.

Admiral says he cant comprehend how the government can cut $20 million out of the education budget and then turn around and give themselves a three percent raise.

Premier Hamm and Jane Purves should be ashamed of themselves, he says, for forcing school boards to take drastic measures like cutting six weeks salary from custodians, while MLAs enjoy the benefits of a raise. Theyre saving like Scrooge while putting the screws to students and employees.

Admiral says whats really needed is an increase in the maintenance budgets allotted to schools, as so many of them are crumbling after years of inadequate funding.

The bottom line is, how can we educate our children if we dont have classrooms to teach them in, he asks.

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For more information please call:
Henk Admiraal at 902-662-3895 or
Terry Goulding at 902-752-2244.