Saskatchewan teachers to strike for one day

Saskatchewan teachers will strike for one day next week as the contract standoff continues.

Samantha, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF) becotte announced the planned withdrawal during a virtual press conference Thursday morning.

“Unfortunately, the government continues to refuse to reach any agreement directly with teachers that will deliver improvements to schools and classrooms.” Becotte said.

Becotte said teachers will strike across the province on Tuesday, January 16. While legally the union only requires 48 hours’ notice to begin industrial action, an STF press release said teachers wanted to give parents and caregivers more notice.

The early notice is also intended to give the province time to return to the negotiating table to discuss a broader range of issues, Becotte said.

The strike announcement comes after the release of an independent conciliator’s report that suggested teachers and the provincial government “could choose to negotiate class size and complexity,” something the government has insisted not be done. can negotiate and prefers to focus on compensation.

The difference of opinion on whether the issue has become a major obstacle during the negotiations.

Following the release of the conciliator’s findings on Monday, the government indicated it has no plans to change course on the issue.

“If the government is willing to discuss long-term commitments to address classroom complexity, teachers will come back to the table,” Becotte said.

As for the additional costs that such contractually negotiated changes could bring, Becotte maintains that the government has enough resources to foot the bill.

“The government has the ability to fund public education there, there should be no question about that. When you look at the Prime Minister’s Twitter, he talks about how great Saskatchewan is and the prosperity of the province and how we are leading the country.” Becotte said.

The STF asked a Ministry of Labor conciliator to intervene after declaring a deadlock in negotiations in October, because the union felt there was no way forward in its negotiations with the province.

Following the declaration of impasse, 90 percent of union members voted, with 95 percent in favor of possible labor action that could include a strike.

In an emailed statement, Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said the government’s negotiating team is “disappointed” following the strike announcement and “remains at the negotiating table, ready to talk.”

“We know that disrupting learning is not in the best interest of students and that agreements are reached at the negotiating table, not on the picket line,” Cockrill said.

The minister again flagged a proposed seven per cent pay rise over three years, an offer the government publicly promoted on billboards and online ads shortly after negotiations began over the summer.

The strike notice comes the same week as a pair of educational announcements from the government.

On Monday, the province said it will run a pilot project, creating eight “specialized support” classrooms, each with up to 15 students in urban school divisions.

On Wednesday it said it would offer a “teacher innovation” fund during the next school year, where teachers can submit ideas to improve education and receive between $10,000 and $75,000 to implement the ideas in schools.

Becotte accused the province of trying to circumvent the negotiation process and noted that the short-term programs come during an election year.

“We have seen before that those election promises disappear very quickly and we see further reductions in support for schools,” Becotte he told CTV News on Thursday.

–This is a developing story, more details to come.

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