Saskatchewan teachers ratify new 4-year contract

A bitter contract dispute between the province’s 13,000 teachers and the Saskatchewan government has ended after teachers ratified a new contract.

However, the president of their union says class size and composition still needs to be addressed.

“We remain deeply committed to ensuring students have equitable access to the supports and resources they need,” said Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF).

Teachers voted 85 per cent in favour of the new four-year contract.

They will receive no raise in the first year and a two per cent increase in each of the next three years.

“Teachers recognize the world has changed dramatically and settling the contract enables them to focus their energy on supporting their students by continuing to adapt their teaching strategies and provide quality emergency remote learning for the rest of this school year,” Maze said.

Maze said the STF will participate with sector partners in a provincial committee to address class size and composition.

“We will continue to propose and advocate for solutions through the new committee,” Maze said.

“If (the) government fails to implement meaningful change we will explore all avenues, including future rounds of bargaining, to ensure students’ needs are met.”

Teachers had been without a contract since their last one expired on Aug. 31, 2019.

An impasse was reached over class size and composition during contract talks.

The STF wanted the issue to be part of contract negotiations, while the government said that it was beyond the scope of collective bargaining.

Teachers voted 90.2 per cent in favour of job action and on March 12, withdrew all voluntary and extracurricular services.

Schools in the province were then ordered closed indefinitely on March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new contract expires on Aug. 31, 2023.

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