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Saskatchewan teachers reject tentative agreement as slim majority votes no

REGINA — Saskatchewan teachers have rejected an offer for a new three-year agreement that had promised wage increases and measures to address classroom issues.

Fifty-five per cent of teachers who voted gave the deal a thumbs down, opening the window for job action as graduation ceremonies soon get underway.

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president Samantha Becotte says the result sends a message that educators need to see “real changes” to classroom complexity and compensation.

The vote comes after months of back and forth between the teachers federation and the province.

Teachers had gone on rotating strikes and pulled their volunteer work for extracurricular activities.

The proposed deal had included salary hikes of three per cent in the first two years and two per cent in the final year.

It also contained measures to address classroom sizes and supports, such as the creation of a ministerial advisory group made up of teachers, students and parents.

Eighty-eight per cent of the 13,500 members cast a ballot.

Executive leadership at the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation had recommended accepting the deal, but Becotte said Thursday they heard from members who said their priorities hadn’t been adequately addressed.

“I appreciate the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee’s willingness to bargain in good faith during the meetings that led us to the tentative deal,” Becotte said in a statement.

“I expect that these productive negotiations will continue, and we can return to the table to chart a path towards an agreement that will meet the needs of Saskatchewan’s students and teachers without further interruptions to the school year.”

Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said following the vote that he was disappointed with the result.

“We will have more to say about next steps very soon,” he said in a statement.

The vote comes after teachers in early May rejected another offer from the government that 90 per cent of participating members opposed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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