Saskatchewan teachers don't get entire wish list, but ratify new contract deal

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation says its members have voted to accept a four-year contract that provides no wage increase in the first year.

They are to receive two per cent in each of the following three years.

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The federation says 85 per cent of teachers who voted earlier this week were in favour of the deal.

Teachers had overwhelmingly supported job action — including a full-scale strike — in late February, after contract talks with the province reached an impasse.

The province shut down schools on March 20 as the COVID-19 health crisis intensified.

One of the main sticking points for the province's 13-thousand teachers was class size and composition, but those aren't part of the new contract.

"Acceptance of this agreement does not signal that teachers’ concerns have been addressed," federation president Patrick Maze said in a news release posted online Thursday night.

"However, 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."

The federation says there will be a provincial committee formed to address concerns over the makeup of classes.

"We remain deeply committed to ensuring students have equitable access to the supports and resources they need," Maze said. "We will continue to propose and advocate for solutions through the new committee."

The new agreement is retroactive to last Sept. 1 and runs to Aug. 31, 2023.

The provincial government has agreed to create new educational regulations that will require school boards to provide the federation with a list of substitute teachers each year.

The Ministry of Education announced it had reached an agreement with teachers on April 22.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 22, 2020

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