Request from provincial government to freeze labour costs met with uneasiness

Herald file photo. Robert Bratvold answers a question during the Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division annual general meeting in 2016. On Friday, provincial government sent a letter to the division asking them to find ways to freeze labour costs for the next year. Bratvold said there are some concerns about the request, but no final decisions would be made until March at the earliest.

The Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division’s director of education says there are some concerns about a recent directive from the provincial government to cap employee compensation.

On Friday, Jan. 13, the province sent out letters to numerous public sector services, including all 19 of Saskatchewan’s public school divisions, encouraging them to freeze wage increases and performance or bonus pay.

On Wednesday, Sask. Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold confirmed they had received a letter, and said there were some concerns about the directive.

“It raises some potential conflicts between what’s provincially mandated for its employees, and what the impact will be on school boards, and its employees, because they’re not the same thing,” Bratvold said. “I’m concerned about the lack of clarity around that.”

The school division has little control over teacher salaries, which are negotiated at a province-wide level, so any potential salary changes will have to come elsewhere.

For more on this story, please see the Jan. 19 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.