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Sask. teachers approve possible sanctions with 90% in favour
Saskatchewan Teachers Federation President Patrick Maze speaks to reporters in Saskatoon Feb. 24, 2020. (Chad Leroux/CTV Saskatoon)
SASKATOON -- Saskatchewan teachers have voted in favour of sanctions, with 90.2 per cent of members in support, the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) announced Monday.
“Saskatchewan teachers have demonstrated their collective resolve and commitment to ensure students have access to the supports they need,” President Patrick Maze said in a news release.
“Chronic underfunding has created a crisis in Saskatchewan schools that can’t go on any longer.”
The STF says the sanctions vote could result in job action, which could bring both sides back to bargaining.
It could also lead to a full teacher walk out which can vary from rotating strikes, the withdrawal of voluntary services from teachers like afterschool coaching and sports activities or a work to rule situation.
“We know it creates uncertainty for students, parents and teachers alike,” Maze said.
“Teachers want to be in the classroom with their students; however, they know students are not getting what they need and are determined to use the tools at their disposal to ensure resources are available. That’s what students and parents want, too.”
The STF is scheduled to meet with Education Minister Gord Wyant and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association on Tuesday.
The STF and the province are at odds over whether class size limits should be included in a new collective agreement.
In December, a conciliation board was formed at the request of the STF bargaining committee to reach a new agreement.
The board has recommended the three parties meet within the next four weeks to discuss steps that can be implemented immediately to support students and teachers, according to the STF.
"The results of the sanctions vote do not change the approach to bargaining – the government will continue to bargain in good faith," Deputy Minister of Education Rob Currie said in a statement.
The goal remains to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for teachers, he said.
Carla Beck, education critic for the NDP Opposition, said teachers and students are concerned about a possible labour disruption.
She said the education minister needs to show the government is serious about addressing issues of class size and composition, which teachers have raised as a problem.
"I'm not sure that there's an appetite to balance the budget on the backs of our kids."
With Canadian Press files