STF calls for sanctions vote; Wyant warns of teachers' strike
An empty classroom is seen in this undated file photo. (Source: iStock, DONGSEON_KIM)
SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation says it will hold a sanction vote next month as it and the provincial bargaining committee remain at an impasse.
The announcement comes after a four-day conciliation process the STF called a failure. STF president Patrick Maze said in a news release that his members have been clear since bargaining for a new contract began in August 2018 that class complexity and salary remain the two most important issues.
The STF says the teachers' bargaining committee recommended a sanctions vote, and this was endorsed by the union executives.
"Taking a sanctions vote is not a decision taken lightly; however, after nine months of bargaining, government has been unwilling to negotiate class complexity or move from the original salary offer," Maze said in the news release.
"We remain committed to ensuring these concerns are addressed. Students and teachers deserve better."
In an email statement to CTV News, Education Minister Gordon Wyant said the province's bargaining team felt progress was being made and it looks forward to the conciliator's report. They continue to look forward to negotiations with the union's bargaining team, he said.
"We value the important role of teachers, respect the bargaining process and will continue to bargain in good faith.”
Wyant told reporters Friday that the sanctions vote is a vote for a strike.
"No one should be under any illusion. This is a strike vote. At the end of the day I don’t think anybody wants to see teachers on the picket line, I don’t think parents want to see teachers on the picket line, and I don’t think it’s good for students.”
He said another committee is considering how classroom composition and size affects learning.
In November the STF requested a conciliation board be introduced to the bargaining process. The union's bargaining committee and the province's bargaining committee met with the conciliation board for four days from Jan. 21 to 24.
Maze said the teachers are looking for an eight per cent salary increase over three years, while the province proposed a four per cent salary increase over the same timeframe.
With files from Chad Leroux.