The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation announced on Thursday, February 29 that it has started a five-day countdown before teachers across the province withdraw all extracurricular support. 

“While only 48 hours’ notice is required for job action, the Federation is providing this additional notice to ensure that the Minister of Education has the opportunity to consider the implications of escalated job action due to withholding a renewed mandate to bargain,” stated the STF in a release. 

“This job action can be stopped immediately when government is ready to negotiate on all issues of importance to teachers, including class size and complexity,” says STF President Samantha Becotte. “We are asking government to include the offer they made outside of bargaining as part of the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee’s renewed mandate. If Minister of Education Jeremey Cockrill, Premier Scott Moe, and Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Jaimie Smith-Windsor are truly committed to improving the experience of students in schools, they should have no problem allowing the discussion of these items at the bargaining table. With these items on the table, negotiations can come to a quick conclusion, resolving the longest teachers’ strike in the history of Saskatchewan. This would ensure that schools and teachers can move on in planning an excellent ending to the school year, including all the voluntary services from which students and families benefit.”

The STF said in a release that the withdrawal of extracurricular activities will begin with two full days on Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 6. With the withdrawal, all voluntary services involved in the organization, supervision, and facilitation of activities, including athletics, non-curricular arts, field trips, student travel, and graduation preparations will come to a halt. 

“Government isn’t just ignoring teachers. They are ignoring the needs of students, parents, and the people they are elected to serve. More than 100,000 emails have been sent to government through Tell Them Tuesday,” says Becotte. “If government continues to ignore this, we will have no choice but to further escalate job action.”

“Teachers know that withdrawing extracurricular activities has a significant impact on students and share in parents’ frustration that government’s intransigence has pushed job action this far. The objective of the five-day countdown is for government and SSBA to provide their bargaining team with a new mandate and stop the clock on this and further job action,” stated the STF release. 

“Teachers are taking action for one reason: students,” stated Becotte. “We’re trying to secure more funding for school divisions. Yet, local school trustees are largely silent. Why aren’t locally elected trustees speaking out about how a lack of funding means they can’t meet the needs of their communities?”

Teachers are asking parents, students, business owners, and other community members to continue to support public education to compel the government and trustees to return to the table ready to address all issues.