Saskatchewan teachers to resume job action on Monday after rejecting province’s call for binding arbitration

Daily Herald File Photo STF President Samantha Becotte

Saskatchewan Teachers will resume Work-to-Rule job action on Monday after declaring an impasse in negotiations on Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) said in a press release that the two sides held a meeting on Wednesday. The STF said they put forward “several paths for continued negotiations” but the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee (GTBC) wanted binding arbitration, something they couldn’t accept.

“We have always agreed with what Minister Cockrill (Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill) has stated many times—the best deals are negotiated at the table,” STF president Samantha Becotte said in a press release. “We finally experienced real negotiations in the meetings held in May and want to build on that progress.”

Starting June 10, teachers will no long provide voluntary services outside the restricted work day, including a withdrawal of all extracurricular activities. The job action also includes a restricted workday, meaning teachers will not arrive at school until 15 minutes before the start of the school day and leave 15 minutes after it ends. Teachers have also withdrawn all noon-hour supervision.

Becotte said the STF is willing to return to the bargaining table and suspend sanctions if the government is prepared to provide the GTBC “with an adequate mandate to negotiate” on the issue.

“Teachers are engaged and are committed to reaching a negotiated deal that will ensure students’ needs can be met,” Becotte said. “Government’s singular focus and insistence on binding arbitration shows that it is unwilling to adequately address the urgent needs of Saskatchewan students.”

The STF has scheduled a press conference for Thursday morning.

The Ministry of Education issued a press release calling binding arbitration the only viable option to ensure a timely resolution after the STF membership rejected a tentative agreement reached on May 17.

The Ministry also criticized STF senior leadership, arguing that Thursday’s actions show they “are more interested in planning job action” than reaching an agreement.

“Government is committed to getting a deal done to provide stability and predictability for students, families, and the education sector,” Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said in the press release. “Binding arbitration represents the best path to get that done. Our priority is to ensure that instructional time and important student activities are not affected any further.”

The Ministry argued that binding arbitration would help maintain the quality of education and minimize disruptions for students.

“Any further sanctions at this point would be unfair to Saskatchewan students and families given the GTBC’s commitment to refer this to binding arbitration,” reads the press release.