STF announces rotating strike including rally at Saskatchewan Legislature

Daily Herald File Photo STF President Samantha Becotte

On Friday, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF) gave notice of a one-day rotating strike that will take place at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Monday.

This strike coincides with the first day of the spring legislative session. Local teachers will be on the strike line from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to the STF.

“Government has ignored calls, emails, meeting requests and office visits from teachers, parents and concerned citizens,” STF President Samantha Becotte said in a press release. “It will be awfully difficult for them to ignore us on Monday as they return for spring session.”

A rotating strike is the withdrawal of all professional and voluntary services for a 24-hour period. Teachers will not report to school and will not perform any teaching-related duties on the day of a strike.

Teachers will not report to school and will not perform any teaching-related duties on the day of a strike.

By law, 48 hours’ notice is required for job action; however, the Saskatchewan Teachers’

Federation is providing extra time to allow families to make arrangements and government to change course.

All schools in the Holy Family Catholic Division, Prairie South School Division, Regina Public and Catholic Schools and South East Cornerstone School Division will be affected.

Francophone schools in Regina, Moose Jaw, Gravelbourg and Bellegarde will also be included, as well as the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Corporation’s campuses in Moose Jaw and Estevan.

“Saskatchewan residents have sent over 110,000 emails to government and school board trustees since the beginning of January,” Becotte said. “In the face of this overwhelming support for the actions that teachers are taking for their students and publicly funded schools, it is deeply troubling that government remains so intransigent in their position.

“Students, teachers and families in Saskatchewan deserve much better. When government is ready to listen and quit ignoring Saskatchewan parents, we are ready to work with them to find solutions that support the students in both today’s classrooms and the classrooms of the future.”

Monday will mark the fourth day of rotating strikes since January, and the sixth consecutive day of job action since Feb. 26.

As of Friday, teachers have performed two days of province-wide strikes, six withdrawals of noon-hour supervision and two days refusing to facilitate extracurricular activities.

Teachers are also set for a province-wide withdrawal of extracurricular activities on Tuesday and Wednesday.

When contacted by the Daily Herald for an interview about the two-day withdrawal, the Ministry of Education sent a statement arguing that STF leadership were choosing job action over getting a deal done.

“The Government Trustee Bargaining Committee (GTBC) extended invitations every day last week to the STF to come back to the bargaining table, where negotiators had been waiting and were ready to engage in meaningful discussions,” reads the statement. “The government has moved on a number of items that the STF asked for, including a renewed salary mandate and workplace safety enhancements. The STF has refused to move off their initial proposals, including a 23.4 per cent salary increase.

“Outside of bargaining, government has proposed an agreement with the STF to annualize the $53.1 million in additional funding for class size and complexity. Since October, the STF has been at the bargaining table for a total of 30 minutes. Teachers and students should be in the classroom, and the teachers’ union should be at the bargaining table.”

-With files from Jason Kerr/Daily Herald