Nova Scotia government awaits next move from teachers as strike countdown starts

(CP) - Nova Scotia's Liberal government isn't committing yet to going back to the bargaining table with the teachers union as a countdown to the province's first strike by educators in public schools begins.

The members of the teachers union voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday in favour of strike action after twice rejecting tentative agreements over the last year.

Strike action that ranges from a complete walkout to work-to-rule could begin by Dec. 3.

Education Minister Karen Casey said Wednesday at a news conference that the next move now rests with the union, while the union and the opposition NDP both say the province could offer to participate in further bargaining talks.

Casey also says she has to hold to a wage pattern for teachers similar to the stated maximum increases for all public sector workers, a three per cent increase over the next four years.

The Liberals have passed legislation permitting the province to keep wage increases for all public sector workers within that envelope, but the government has yet to proclaim the bill.