Sask. Teachers advise to expect escalation in job sanctions

Amid Teacher Appreciation Week, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is notifying the public and the government that they will escalate job sanctions for students when classes resume on February 26.

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte said that if the government does not get serious about bargaining, they can anticipate that job action will continue and escalate.

“Thanks to the people of Saskatchewan, over 52,000 emails and calls have been sent to government officials in just over a month. Each of these has expressed concerns about underfunding in public schools and a deep displeasure with how government is handling the bargaining process,” Becotte said. “It is alarming that our government is disregarding this overwhelming, unified message from the public. It suggests that they don’t really care about Saskatchewan’s kids or public education and shows a level of disdain for Saskatchewan’s citizens.”

Becotte expressed disappointment, highlighting the government’s limiting bargaining tactics. The juxtaposition of the government’s constraints on negotiators while Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill questions the value of meetings if critical issues aren’t discussed adds complexity to the situation.

“Government has doubled down on misleading the public, distracting from the serious issues facing students and refusing good faith negotiations. Their behaviour is deeply disrespectful to students and families, the collective bargaining process and the 13,500 teachers of this province,” says Becotte. “Unless they are willing to return to the table and actually negotiate, we have no choice but to continue using the tools available to us to hold them accountable.”

Becotte acknowledges that further job action will be complex and create a stressful situation for families but urges people to relay their concerns to their local school board trustee and MLA.

Teachers will provide at least 48 hours notice before any further job action.

As part of current job action, teachers have halted voluntary lunchtime supervision, meaning students across the province will have to find alternative places to eat lunch today – alongside that, Teacher’s Federation members in North Battle Ford and Prince Albert will be on a full day of strikes.

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