Halifax – The province’s largest child care union says today’s provincial budget raises more questions than answers, especially for the child care sector.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Dianne Frittenburg says, “What we were promised from the Premier and the Minister of Education were real wage increases for Early Childhood Educators (ECEs). Instead, we were given no real details in the budget, only that there will be wage grants.
“This is something we already have in the sector. A grant is not a permanent wage increase and these have traditionally been controlled by employers. We want this new money going directly to ECEs in Nova Scotia, who are the lowest paid in the country,” says Frittenburg.
Frittenburg says, “The budget allocation of $6.6 million is for subsidies for parents, inclusion programs and wages. It’s not all going to wages. While it’s a welcome increase, it is not a lot of money when you compare it to, say, the new Yarmouth ferry which will get over $10 million this year alone.”
Frittenburg says, “This budget also basically confirms what CUPE has been saying for the last two years – that there have been no savings realized from the mergers of the health care authorities, or DHAs. Instead, we’ve had labour relations turmoil and upheaval from Bill 1 and other government actions.”
Says Frittenburg, “A year ago the Finance Minister told us all that the sky was supposedly falling. Now the $243M deficit – which we had been saying all along was actually quite a modest deficit – has suddenly disappeared and the government is predicting four years of surplus.
“They could have at least been honest with Nova Scotians and admitted that these savings came off the backs of public sector workers’ wages and a huge, legislated concession on their long service awards,” she says.