The Saskatchewan government has increased its wage offer to teachers and said it will also commit funds that will be applied to addressing composition challenges in classrooms.
The offer comes as teachers prepare to withdraw voluntary and extracurricular services over stalled contract talks.
READ MORE: Saskatchewan teachers announce sanctions, withdrawing voluntary and extracurricular services
The government is offering a one-time payment of $1,500, funded from the teachers’ health plan, in the first year of a four-year-deal and increases of two per cent in each of the next three years.
Teachers in the province would earn 105 per cent of the Western Canadian average for teachers’ salaries, government officials said.
Teachers are seeking increases of eight per cent over three years — two per cent, three per cent and three per cent.
Education Minister Gordon Wyant did not say how the funds would be allocated to address classroom composition but urged the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) to join the committee looking at the issue.
“I encourage teachers to participate in this important committee as they work daily with students and understand the composition issue very clearly,” Wyant said Wednesday in a statement.
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“I urge the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation to select teacher representatives to join this committee, which I am prepared to reformat for this important discussion.”
Teachers are withdrawing all voluntary and extracurricular services starting Thursday, March 12.
They will also report to school and provide service no more than 15 minutes before the start of the school day. They’ll leave 15 minutes after class ends.
Teachers voted 90.2 per cent in favour of job action in February after talks with a conciliation board to reach a new contract failed.
An impasse was reached in negotiations over class size and composition. The STF wants the issue to be part of contract negotiations, while the government said it is beyond the scope of collective bargaining.
The Saskatchewan government said it struck a committee last fall to deal with the issue. The STF was offered a seat on the committee, but declined to participate.
The government and union do not have any upcoming meetings.
Teachers in the province have been without a contract since their last one expired on Aug. 31, 2019.