Saskatchewan teachers reject negotiated offer

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STF members reject a 5.5 per cent increase and a one per cent lump sum payment over the first two years

Saskatchewan teachers reject negotiated offer

Teachers across the province voted 73 per cent against a negotiated tentative offer between the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.

“The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee negotiated a fair, reasonable and competitive offer to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation that, if ratified would have resulted in its members being some of the highest paid teachers in the Western provinces,” Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee spokesperson Connie Bailey stated in a news release.

The tentative agreement with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation would have provided a total of 6.5 per cent increase over four years, including a 5.5 per cent salary increase and a one per cent lump sum payment over the first two years. The Alberta government had recently reached an agreement with teachers that will see the salary grid frozen for three years (zero per cent), followed by an increase of two per cent in 2015 and a one-time lump sum payment to be funded by government in that same year.  

“It’s important to provide a competitive salary for Saskatchewan’s teacher professionals and a lot of hard work and negotiation went into the development of the tentative agreement,” Bailey said.  “While we are disappointed that the offer was rejected, we are still confident in the bargaining process and we will be working with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation to determine when we can go back to the table.”

In a news release, the STF said the rejection of the agreement reflects teachers dissatisfaction with workloads.

“Teachers have spoken clearly. Their perspectives are consistent with those that we communicated at the bargaining table,” said Colin Keess, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. “Teachers are looking for change in relationships and supports for teaching and learning.

“As we met with teachers over the last few weeks, it has become clear to us that teachers are looking for evidence of the government’s commitment to re-engaging with teachers,” said Keess.

Saskatchewan teachers, who have been without a contract since Aug. 31, are now at the end of a three-year collective agreement which was reached in Sept 2011. Their previous negotiations were decided following a Special Mediator's Report.

During their last contract dispute, teachers took a series of job actions including a study session day on May 5, 2011 a two-day province wide strike on May 25 and 26, 2011, followed by a withdraw of voluntary services which resulted in the cancellation of a series of school activities and trips. The province wide two-day strike marked the first time such a teachers action had occurred in 78 years.

Organizations: Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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