The province’s teachers will be initiating job action following a five-day countdown to allow parents to prepare for a general strike. News came down in a release from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation following a string of unsuccessful talks with their Government-Trustee counterparts and a conciliator panel report that offered no solutions.
The release acknowledges a one-day provincewide strike on Tuesday, January 16. The legal requirement for notice of job action is 48 hours. The announcement and the five-day buffer time allows the Government-Trustee team the option of returning to the table, says the release, in which case the countdown will be stopped so bargaining can resume.
“The last thing any teacher wants is for negotiations to impact the school year, so we are exhausting every possible option to get government back to the table,” says Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte. “At every turn, teachers have said that committees are getting us nowhere on these urgent issues, and a new deal must include items to address class size and complexity. Government remains intransigent, even after conciliation. This is not bargaining; they are making decisions based on politics and student learning is suffering for it.”
The release goes on to highlight the Government’s refusal to negotiate on class size and complexity, even after the Conciliation Board indicated support for teachers’ position that class size and complexity can be addressed through bargaining.
If no progress is made, the release promises additional job action will follow the strike on January 16.
A virtual Parent and Caregiver Information Night is being held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 14. STF President Samantha Becotte will provide information about the status of contract negotiations, STF proposals, the potential for teacher job action and the state of education in Saskatchewan. Registration is required through the STF website and space is limited to 5,000 registrants.
“Teachers and parents are united in wanting the best for their kids,” says Becotte. “We want to provide families with as much information as possible. This is a fight for the future of publicly funded education in Saskatchewan, and schools need the support of our communities. I encourage everyone across the province to reach out to your neighbours and friends, contact your elected officials, and let them know that the students of this province deserve a government that will provide them with the resources they desperately need.”
The release, issued on Monday, January 11, concludes inviting supporters “to contact the Honourable Minister Jeremy Cockrill to voice their concerns through the STF’s action tool and to sign up for Tell Them Tuesday to take part in future advocacy actions, all geared to bring government back to the table with a new mandate before January 16.