No deal: Saskatchewan teachers go on strike

Meadow Lake teachers leave from a study session, May 5

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation announced Friday that it plans to completely withdraw services for a 48-hour period this week.
According to the announcement, strike action is set to take effect midnight on Tuesday, meaning cancellations will occur for Wednesday and Thursday classes.
The union’s previous action took the form of a May 5 study session, where teachers used class time to hold meetings with STF representatives.
Since then, the STF and the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee resumed negotiations, talks the STF says exhibited “little, or no, flexibility” on the government side.
After asking for a 12 per cent pay increase over one year, the STF tabled a new offer that would see teachers get a 16.3 per cent pay increase over a three-year period.
The bargaining committee, originally offering 5.5 per cent over three years, upped its offer by .55 per cent.
Spokeswoman for the STF Gwen Dueck said that “teachers are being threatened with layoffs and being attacked for wanting to participate in Saskatchewan’s booming economy.”
“If the government [was] truly concerned about the educational outcomes of students, they would have settled with teachers at the bargaining table,” Dueck said.
The bargaining committee issued a statement on Thursday.
“This new demand of 16.3 per cent demonstrates the STF is unwilling to negotiate,” Sandi Urban-Hall, the spokeswoman for the bargaining committee said.
“We have made an offer to the STF that, if ratified, would make Saskatchewan teachers among the highest paid in Canadian provinces,” Urban-Hall said.
Last year’s provincial budget allocated $1.33 billion towards education, an amount second only to healthcare.
Of this total, $840 million went to teacher salaries and benefits – 8.3 per cent of the total provincial budget for 2010.
Here in Meadow Lake, Jonas Samson Junior High has rescheduled its Showcase of the Arts for June, while it remains uncertain how the May 25 district track and field meet, hosted by Carpenter High School, will be affected.


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