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Sask. Teachers Federation announces full-day rotating strikes

Teachers across Saskatchewan have walked off the job for one day twice this month in response to stalled negotiations with the provincial government. (Travis Reddaway/CBC - image credit)
Teachers across Saskatchewan have walked off the job for one day twice this month in response to stalled negotiations with the provincial government. (Travis Reddaway/CBC - image credit)

Saskatchewan teachers from five local teachers' associations will be on strike on Thursday, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation has announced.

The rotating strikes are the next step announced by the federation, following two one-day strikes where all teachers in the province walked off the job in January.

On Thursday, the following local teachers' associations will be on strike for the day:

  • Horizon Teachers' Association, including all Horizon School Division schools (east-central Saskatchewan).

  • Prairie South Teachers' Association, including all Prairie South School Division schools (Moose Jaw area).

  • Holy Trinity Teachers' Association, including all Holy Trinity Catholic School Division schools (Moose Jaw and Swift Current).

  • Prince Albert and Area Teachers' Association, including all Prince Albert Catholic School Division schools and all Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division schools.

  • Tri-West Teachers' Association, including all Light of Christ Catholic School Division schools, Living Sky School Division schools and Sakewew High School (North Battleford area).

The strike action also includes Conseil des écoles fransaskoises schools falling within the above geographic boundaries. Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre teachers stationed at schools or regional campuses within these areas are also expected to participate in the rotating strikes, the federation said in a news release Monday.

Saskatchewan teachers do not agree with the provincial government on issues like salary and class size and complexity.
Saskatchewan teachers do not agree with the provincial government on issues like salary and class size and complexity.

Saskatchewan teachers do not agree with the provincial government on issues like salary and class size and complexity. (Alexander Quon/CBC)

"Where is the Minister of Education? People are doing everything they can to bring their concerns to his attention, but he still refuses to listen," Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation president Samantha Becotte said in the news release.

She said that Saskatchewan residents have sent more than 30,000 emails to the government in less than three weeks. She compared that to when the government received 18 letters from parents in the fall and then called an emergency session of the legislature to invoke the notwithstanding clause and pass the Parents' Bill of Rights.

"They only seem concerned about the issues that fit within their political agenda. It is mystifying that they believe this can continue," Becotte said.

Teachers want to include class sizes and issues around class complexity in their contract, but the government refuses.

In terms of salary, teachers are asking for two per cent annual wage increases and to have salaries tied to the consumer price index — a common measure of inflation.

The province, meanwhile, has said the consumer price index is not a factor in any other collective agreement it has signed, and maintains that its offer of a seven per cent raise over three years would keep Saskatchewan teachers' salaries above the western Canadian average.

The province has also said that it is disappointed with the STF's decisions to take job action and is ready to be at the bargaining table at any time.