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Sask. Teachers' Federation set to strike January 16

The STF noted that if the government’s intransigence continues, additional job action will follow the strike on Jan. 16.
Samantha Becotte, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation speaks at the final fall rally across the province — Nov 8 in North Battleford

SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF) announced the beginning of a five-day countdown leading up to a one-day province-wide strike on Tuesday, Jan. 16.

In a press release from the STF on Thursday morning, they noted that the legal requirement for notice of job action is 48 hours, adding that the five-day countdown will provide families with advance notice and extra time to prepare and also provide the government with an opportunity to change course.

Should the government change course and allow its negotiating committee to bargain on critical issues impacting students and raising serious concerns among teachers and parents, the countdown will be stopped and committees can return to the bargaining table.

“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,” said STF 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. The 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 STF noted that if the government’s intransigence continues, additional job action will follow the strike on Jan. 16.

A virtual Parent and Caregiver Information Night is being held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 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.”

Supporters are invited to contact the Honourable Minister Jeremy Cockrill to voice their concerns through our action tool and to sign up for Tell Them Tuesday to take part in future advocacy actions to bring the government back to the table with a new mandate before Jan. 16.

In a statement from Minister Jeremy Cockrill, he said,

"We are disappointed that the STF executive continues to work toward a strike while the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee  (GTBC) remains at the bargaining table, ready to talk.

 "Outside of that process, we have demonstrated our commitment to addressing classroom complexity with record funding, and two brand new pilot projects announced just this week," he added.

"We know that disrupting learning is not what is in the best interest of students and that deals are reached at the bargaining table, not on the picket line.

"We also know that the STF’s decision affects parents and that school divisions are already working to communicate directly with parents and caregivers."

Minister Cockrill said that the GTBC has put forward a fair deal for teachers with a seven per cent raise over three years, ensuring Saskatchewan teachers remain paid above the Western Canadian Average.

"The GTBC would like to continue discussing competitive salary and benefits but cannot with the STF refusing to return to the table.