The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has announced further job action that will be taking place this week.  

A province-wide strike has been called for one day on Wednesday, March 20th, coinciding with the delivery of the provincial budget. As well, support for extra-curricular activities is being withdrawn provincewide on Thursday and Friday. In a release, the STF stated this move will cause the cancellation of HOOPLA, the annual provincial basketball championship tournament, as well as a number of other activities.  

“If the government agreed to binding arbitration for classroom complexity, or provided their bargaining team with the mandate that included classroom complexity, we could return to the table to negotiate an agreement and, like I said, all sanctions would be cancelled or suspended,” said Samantha Becotte, the president of the STF.  

Last week, Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA, and former Education Minister, Dustin Duncan said the STF had been constantly moving the goalposts throughout the negotiation process, and has refused to meet at the bargaining table. This was something Becotte said was not factual. 

“We opened with a set of proposals, and if we’re moving the goalposts, we’re moving them closer to find that solution,” Becotte commented. “Their characterization that teachers are moving the goalposts, and moving things further and further, couldn’t be less true.” 

Becotte did point out the government has not moved their position, as they continue to say no to including classroom complexity in any manner in a new collective agreement.  

The provincial government, on March 7th, announced they had signed a multi-year funding agreement with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association that would provide a minimum of $356 million a year for classroom supports for the next four years. This announcement did not specify how much of the funding was new funding, or if there would be any increases during the four years.  

That agreement has been criticized for being subject to budgetary appropriation each year, and that it could be cancelled by either party at any time.