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Photos: Estevan teachers went on strike along with those from the rest of the province

About 250 people were out picketing in -25 C weather Tuesday morning demanding better funding for education sector.

ESTEVAN — Estevan teachers went on a one-day strike Tuesday morning, along with thousands of others within the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF).

The local strike started with a walk from Power Dodge Curling Centre, up Souris Avenue North to 7/11 and then down 13th Avenue to Fourth Street. The demonstration went to Estevan MLA Lori Carr’s office on Fourth Street.

About 250 people were out picketing in -25 C weather Tuesday morning demanding better funding for education sector. Teachers employed with the South East Cornerstone Public School Division, Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division, the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation and the Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises were also supported by United Mine Workers of America Local 7606, as well as local representatives from SaskPower, CBSA and CUPE unions.

Participants were singing and chanting, demanding for more support. They also brought posters, pointing out struggles teachers face in their day-to-day work.

“Our classrooms need more support. We've been struggling since all the budget cuts for the last few years, and it's just time to put those supports and funds back into our classrooms. Without funding, our kids are suffering, and our kids are our future,” said Janet Mann, vice-president of the South East Cornerstone Teachers Association. “We hope they respond after this one-day walkout and they give us something, that they go back to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.”

Drivers passing by honked their horns in support of the teachers during the walk and at Carr's office. Mann noted they also received a lot of support from local businesses, as Michael’s Coffee Shop and Bakery donated the coffee in the morning, 7/11 on King Street supplied cookies and many other local businesses invited them to stop in to warm up.

The walk-out started around 10 a.m. and continued until 2 p.m. Roughly the same number of participants joined strikes in Weyburn and Moosomin.

Tuesday morning, STF president Samantha Becotte and Canadian Teachers’ Federation president Heidi Yetman delivered letters to Premier Scott Moe and Minister of Education Jeremy Cockrill at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. These letters are from teachers and supporters across the province, describing critical issues in the publicly-funded education system, and what the government must do to address them.

The STF announced a one-day province-wide strike five days in advance.

While the legal requirement for notice of job action is 48 hours, in a press release STF noted that adding that the five-day countdown should have provided families with advance notice and extra time to prepare, and also give the government an opportunity to change course.

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.