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Saskatchewan teachers vote in favour of job action over contract dispute


February 24, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Members of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation have voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action.

The federation represents 13,500 teachers whose last contract expired Aug. 31.

The union says about 90 per cent of members cast votes in support of sanctions, and turnout was nearly 97 per cent.

Federation president Patrick Maze said Monday the union will provide 48 hours of notice if there are severe sanctions such as a walkout.

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He said even though the bargaining committee has a mandate to move on sanctions, the goal is to negotiate a collective agreement.

Funding and classroom supports are key issues in the labour dispute.

“Classroom complexity is an issue that needs to be resolved. It needs to resolved in the collective agreement,” he said.

“Government needs to show resolve and they need to step up to their responsibility to fund education.”

Maze said the federation is to meet Tuesday with Saskatchewan’s education minister.

Carla Beck, education critic for the NDP Opposition, said teachers and students are concerned about a possible labour disruption.

She said the education minister needs to show the government is serious about addressing issues of class size and composition, which teachers have raised as a problem.

I’m not sure that there’s an appetite to balance the budget on the backs of our kids.”