Teachers’ federation, province reach impasse in collective bargaining
REGINA -- Neither side is talking about job action yet, but the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has declared it has reached an impasse in collective bargaining with the Saskatchewan Government.
“After seven months of negotiating, it doesn’t seem like government is interested in listening to our concerns,” STF President Patrick Maze said.
The main sticking point between the two sides revolves around class sizes and composition, which the Provincial Government set up a committee to address.
The Teachers want that included in their contract negotiations.
“We know that 50 per cent of our members have indicated that class size and class composition is the most important item to be negotiated,” Maze said.
“I’ve made it very clear that education policy has no place in a collective agreement, so I’m not prepared to concede on that point,” said Gordon Wyant, Minister of Education.
On the salary front, the Teachers are asking for a two per cent increase in year one, as well as three per cent increases in years two and three. The Provincial Government is offering a zero per cent salary increase in year one and two per cent increases in years two and three.
That’s four per cent separating the two sides.
“Class size has crept up, the diversity has increased, so we actually wanting some form of compensation to address the concerns that teachers are working harder,” Maze said.
“We’ve put a fair offer out to the Teachers in terms of the monetary side of that, I’ve asked the STF on a number of occasions just to put it to the teachers, we believe that the majority of teachers in Saskatchewan will support the contract offer that’s been made by the government,” Wyant added.
The NDP is concerned that the gap between the two sides could lead to job action.
“The trajectory that we’re on currently is divisive and I lay that at the lap of the Minister and the Government,” NDP Education Critic Carla Beck said.
The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee has requested that the Education Relations Board establish a Conciliation Board to help the two sides reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
“This offer is fair and it provides stability for the teaching profession in this province for years to come,” Education Minister Gordon Wyant said.