Prince Albert Catholic board updated on STF lifting of sanctions

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Prince Albert Catholic School Division board of education met for the first time in the 2023-2024 school year on Monday at the Education Centre.

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division is keeping a close eye on the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation vote scheduled for May 8-9.

PA Catholic Education Director Lorel Trumier updated the board on how negotiations have gone between the two parties during Monday’s regular school division meeting.

Trumier’s outlined all actions that have taken place since the bargaining impasse was reached in October, 2023.

“It’s important that there is a summary of the events to datem,” Trumier said. “There’s a significant vote that will be occurring on May 8 an 9th of this month, and so it is important that the board be aware of the current status of sanctions.

“The sanctions are on pause right now and they’re going to the vote situation on May 8 and 9 and we’ll see what the result is.”

Trumier has provided updates on negotiations or sanctions at each meeting since the labour action began.

The lastest provincial offer is a three-year agreement that would see salary increases of three percent in year one, three percent in year two and a two percent increase in years three with retroactive pay to September 2023.

The proposed agreement will be brought forward to STF members and will be voted upon on May 8-9. It will be the first time that the STF has taken a vote on a contract since sanctions were introduced in October.

The STF lifted province-wide work-to-rule and began negotiations with the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee (GTBC). The STF will not implement sanctions while negotiations are taking place.

STF president Samantha Becotte spoke to the media via zoom on April 18.

“There are slight improvements from what was originally offered,” she said. “We did have a slight increase in terms of salary, but as I said, it doesn’t address the significant loss of purchasing power that teachers have experienced and have talked about needing to see a correction.

“We have also seen improvements to start addressing the challenges around classroom complexity, so from where we ended with conciliation, we have seen the increased funding come within the multiyear funding agreement with the SSBA. Teachers have no way to hold the government accountable to that and to ensure that those funds continue, but I strongly hope that regardless of what happens within this bargaining process, that members of the public continue to have a conversation around classroom complexity,”

The STF has previously sought binding arbitration with the government. Binding arbitration would see a third-party arbitrator brought in to decide the terms of the new deal.

-with files from Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald