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Province, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation agree on new 4-year contract

A tentative four-year contract has been reached between the province and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Saskatchewan government and the union representing teachers in the province have reached a tentative deal on a new four-year contract.

The province says it includes raises of two per cent in the second, third and fourth years.

Teachers had sought increases of eight per cent over three years — two per cent, three per cent and three per cent.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan education funding boost ‘a good start’ — teachers’ federation

“This tentative agreement balances our respect and appreciation for teachers with the fiscal realities of the province,” Education Minister Gordon Wyant said on Wednesday.

“The terms of our offer mean that Saskatchewan teachers will have stability for years to come and be paid at five per cent above the western Canadian average.”

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Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) president Patrick Maze said the contract does not address all its issues, including class size and composition.

Maze said the bargaining committee felt it was important to have teachers vote on the offer given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our withdrawal of these issues from this round of bargaining in no way signals resolution or reduced importance of these issues,” Maze said.

“I believe we have advanced this issue significantly, and the federation is unwavering in its dedication to address class complexity and ensure an adequately funded public education system in Saskatchewan.”

The contract will now go to the province’s 13,000 teachers for ratification, who are expect to vote within the next four to six weeks.

If ratified, it would expire on Aug. 31, 2023.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan government increases wage offer to teachers

Teachers have been without a contract since their last one expired on Aug. 31, 2019.

The two sides have been locked in a bitter contract dispute, with an impasse reached over class size and composition.

The STF wanted the issue to be part of contract negotiations, while the government said it is beyond the scope of collective bargaining.

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Teachers voted 90.2 per cent in favour of job action and on March 12, withdrew all voluntary and extracurricular services.

Schools in the province were ordered closed indefinitely as of March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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