School support workers in the Halifax area are returning to the bargaining table four weeks after going on strike.

In an email sent to members at 5pm Thursday, CUPE Local 5047 president Chris Melanson said they reached out to the conciliation officer after a Wednesday evening meeting.

“After last evening’s meeting, CUPE Local 5047 reached out to the conciliation officer to say that we had a mandate from members to return to the table,” Melanson said in the email. “The conciliator has since reached out to HRCE who has agreed to come back and bargain.”

Melanson said the union’s bargaining committee is meeting with Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) representatives and the conciliation officer on Friday morning “in the hopes of reaching a new tentative agreement.”

Members were advised that since the bargaining committee will be in meetings, they’ll be unavailable for questions or conversations. Melanson wrote that updates will be provided to all members as soon as possible. 

For many members, this is the first glimmer of hope in a labour dispute that’s been ongoing since May 10.

Currently 1,800 HRCE educational program assistants (EPAs), support workers, and pre-primary teachers are on the picket line and hundreds of children with disabilities are unable to attend school.

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor who enjoys covering health, science, research, and education.

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