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Sask. teachers planning to picket at legislative building

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Both Regina public and catholic schools will be part of a one-day rotating strike on Monday that will see Saskatchewan teachers gather in front of the legislative building as spring sitting gets underway.

“We have heard from students, we have heard from parents, we have heard from community members, business owners, religious groups about the need to have predictable and sustainable funding and better supports and resources so students can have their needs met,” STF president Samantha Becotte said.

Teachers and the province remain at odds over a new contract after a second impasse was declared by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) in February.

Other school divisions taking part in Monday’s job action will be the South East Cornerstone School Division, Prairie South School Division, Holy Family Catholic School Division and the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation’s South Central Campus in Moose Jaw and South East Campus in Estevan.

École Mgr de Laval Pavillon Secondaire des Quatre Vents (Regina), École du Parc (Regina), École Mgr de Laval Pavillon Primaire (Regina), École Ducharme (Moose Jaw) and École Mathieu de Gravelbourg (Gravelbourg), École Beau Soleil (Gravelbourg), École de Bellegarde (Bellegarde) will also be a part of Monday’s job action.

A news release from the STF says teachers plan to picket outside the legislative building between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Monday.

Teachers have been without a contract since August 2023, with bargaining between the two sides initially beginning in May 2023.

The STF has said that classroom size and complexity issues need to be something the two sides discuss at the bargaining table, but the province remains adamant that those two issues should not be discussed as part of contract negotiations.

“Education is the best investment that this government can make and know that we are on the wrong course of action. We need government to come to the table ready to make long term commitments that improve the conditions in our classroom across the province,” Becotte explained.

Some residents CTV News spoke with say they stand with the teachers.

“We need proper education, teachers need to be supported so I really support teachers and support their strike. I hope the authority will come forward,” Tapas Das said.

“Teachers need some funds because we understand their struggles when it comes to teaching the students. I think it is beneficial for additional income for them,” Kim Valerio added.

The provincial government has said teachers’ concerns are being addressed through funding and the announcement of pilot projects.

“The government has moved on a number of items that the STF asked for, including a renewed salary mandate and workplace safety enhancements. The STF has refused to move off their initial proposals, including a 23.4 per cent salary increase,” the provincial government said in a statement to CTV News.

Throughout the week, the province has expressed its disappointment each day at various forms of job action taken by teachers and has accused the STF of only spending 30 minutes at the bargaining table since October.

The STF meanwhile says the province has ignored calls, emails and meeting requests as well as office visits from teachers, parents and citizens concerned with the ongoing situation.

“Saskatchewan residents have sent over 110,000 emails to government and school board trustees since the beginning of January. In the face of this overwhelming support for the actions that teachers are taking for their students and publicly funded schools, it is deeply troubling that government remains so intransigent in their position,” STF president Samantha Becotte said in the release.

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