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Sask. teachers now have job action planned for all 5 school days this week

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With the announcement of a one-day withdrawal of noon-hour supervision for more school divisions on Friday, Saskatchewan teachers now have job action planned for all five school days this week.

On Friday, noon-hour supervision will be pulled for the day at all schools in the Good Spirit School Division, Holy Family Catholic School Division, Horizon School Division and Conseil des ecoles fransaskoises, a news release from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) outlined.

“Withdrawal of noon-hour supervision means STF members will not be available to supervise students who are eating lunch at school or taking part in noon-hour activities,” the release said.

In a virtual meeting on Tuesday, STF president Samantha Becotte said the federation will be declining invitations from the government until the province provides their bargaining team with a renewed mandate that includes the ability to negotiate on priority items for students and teachers.

“Teachers want to be supporting their students but government’s decisions over the last decade have put students and teachers in impossible situations and teachers cannot continue to fill the gaps,” she said.

“We need meaningful, long term commitments in our collective agreement so that government can be held accountable for the funding and to ensure that the experiences of teachers and students improves in classrooms and school divisions.”

Becotte said almost 750 people joined Monday's virtual parent and caregiver information night. The meeting provided information about the status of contract negotiations and teacher job action.

"We continue to hear support from parents in taking these actions because they understand their kids are getting shortchanged in their education," she said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Education reiterated comments made on Monday, claiming that it has moved on several items the STF asked for, including “a renewed salary mandate and workplace safety enhancements.”

"Unfortunately, the union continues to choose job action over bargaining," the statement read.

The STF and the province remain at odds over a new contract, with the federation declaring impasses in negotiations in October and February.

STF president Samantha Becotte stated last week that an increase in job action was likely if negotiations between the two sides didn’t resume.

Teachers are adamant that discussions surrounding classroom size and complexity need to be part of negotiations.

The province has taken the opposite stance and said those two issues do not belong at the bargaining table and instead, they are being addressed through funding and the announcement of pilot projects.

Teachers’ last contract expired in August, 2023. The two sides began the bargaining process in May of 2023.

On Monday, all extracurricular activities were paused for the day across the province.

The action is being followed with a one-day strike Tuesday for certain school divisions and then day-long pauses Wednesday and Thursday of noon-hour supervision and extracurricular activities at certain school divisions.

-- With files from Caitlin Brezinski

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