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Sask. Teachers' Federation recommending tentative deal with province to its members

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The province announced Friday afternoon that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF), nearly one year after initial bargaining began.

In a news release Friday afternoon, the province said the tentative agreement encompasses various key matters discussed during recent negotiations, reflecting collaborative efforts of both parties to address the needs of students, families and teachers.

STF president Samantha Becotte confirmed the tentative agreement during a news conference Friday afternoon and was confident it was an agreement that worked for both sides.

“I am pleased to announce that the teachers’ bargaining committee and the government trustee bargaining committee has reached a tentative agreement,” she said.

Becotte said the STF and the teachers' bargaining committee are endorsing and recommending the tentative agreeement. 

“Communications to members about the details of the agreement will occur over the next few days, including on May 21 and 22 when we will be holding all member virtual town halls to present the details and answer any questions members have,” Becotte said.

Teachers will vote on the tentative agreement on May 29 and 30.

“This has not been an easy process for anyone involved, but we have arrived at a mutually acceptable agreement that will begin to respond to students’ needs,” Becotte said.

Details of the agreement will not be made public until teachers have been able to review it, Becotte said, adding the agreement will be three years.

“We will be sharing those details with our members over the coming days and once they have received the information, we will share some more with the public, but we want to make sure that our members are hearing it first and are able to digest the information prior to it becoming part of the public discourse,” she said.

However, Becotte did confirm that conversations at the table, which began earlier this week, were very productive.

“We had a couple of informal days that made sure when we did get back to the table that there would be a sufficient mandate for the GTBC [government trustee bargaining committee] to engage in those conversations and good faith negotiations, over the last couple of days to get us to where we are,” she said.

“There really was a genuine productive conversation to really have teachers’ needs addressed,” Becotte added.

In a statement on Friday, Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said he is hopeful the deal will be finalized. 

"I thank the STF executive for their endorsement and recommendation for this agreement as it will support Saskatchewan classrooms and provide predictability for teachers and families," the statement read. 

Since initial bargaining between the two sides began nearly one year ago, classroom size and complexity have been two major issues the STF and its members wanted addressed in any potential agreement.

The province remained adamant that they would not address those issues at the table and instead signed an agreement with school divisions and said it would include a funding promise to divisions in any mandate moving forward.

An initial offer from the province was overwhelmingly rejected by teachers last week, with 90 per cent voting “no” and more than 92 per cent of teachers voting.

That was followed with teachers agreeing to a new mandate that would allow them to take job action moving forward if negotiations this week were to dissolve.

Saskatchewan teachers’ last contract expired in August of 2023 after bargaining started in May of that year.

Impasses were declared in October and January by the STF, with job action by teachers beginning at the start of 2024.

Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said on Friday he was hopeful the deal would be finalized. 

"I am hopeful that the agreement will be finalized," Cockrill said in an emailed statement to CTV News.  

"I thank the STF executive for their endorsement and recommendation for this agreement as it will support Saskatchewan classrooms and provide predictability for teachers and families," Cockrill also said, thanking parents, students and teachers for their patience during the process. 

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