The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has announced they will be taking further job action, starting Monday. In a release issued Wednesday, they said this was the start of a new five-day countdown.
“The Minister of Education says that issues like class size and complexity are best dealt with locally,” said STF President Samantha Becotte in the release. “We agree, but local boards cannot address these issues when they are dealing with a decade of budget cuts and drastic underfunding from the provincial government,” said Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte. “We cannot solve these issues with more committees or one-off pilot projects in a small fraction of our schools. We need irrefutable commitments and long-term funding, and our best option to hold government accountable is through our collective agreement. The Conciliation Board agrees that these are bargainable items. Yesterday, Canadian Teachers’ Federation President Heidi Yetman shared that many provinces have negotiated class size and complexity articles, so this is not a novel or new idea.”
In the release, the STF detailed that over 11,000 emails had been sent to Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill, and over 3,300 letters were delivered to the legislature in Regina Tuesday, encouraging the government to return to the negotiating table.
The release did not specify the job action the STF would take on Monday. The federation did state, however, that they would provide at least 48 hours' notice as to what the job action would entail.
Meanwhile, during the one-day strike staged by the STF on Tuesday, Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill spoke to the media. He said the main issues teachers have been vocalizing - classroom size and complexity - were not up for debate at the bargaining table.
"That's a line in the sand for government that we're not going to be moving," he stated. "Issues around classroom size, complexity are best dealt with by school divisions. Locally elected school divisions, 27 of them all around the province in a diverse range of communities, size, and demographics. And so we think school divisions are best positioned to manage that and again we're going to continue working with school divisions to support them."
Cockrill said he also believes the teachers' proposed salary increase is "unreasonable and unfair to Saskatchewan taxpayers." He has been quoted saying that teachers are looking for a 23.5 percent increase over four years. The amount of the wage increase teachers are asking for has not been released by the STF.
--with files from discoverestevan.com