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Saskatchewan teachers resume job action in collective bargaining as school year ends

REGINA — Saskatchewan teachers have resumed job action in a bid to push the province back into bargaining on issues of classroom sizes and student supports.
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Saskatchewan teachers have started job action indefinitely in a bid to push the province back into bargaining on issues of classroom sizes and student supports. Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president Samantha Becotte poses for a portrait in Saskatoon, Sask., Friday, April 26, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

REGINA — Saskatchewan teachers have resumed job action in a bid to push the province back into bargaining on issues of classroom sizes and student supports.

The sanctions mean teachers won't volunteer their time for lunchroom supervision and extracurricular activities.

Also, they will arrive to school only 15 minutes before the start of the day and will leave 15 minutes after classes end.

Regina Public Schools says it has rescheduled buses to make sure they drop off students at times in the morning when teachers are present.

It says buses will take children home for lunch, but parents must drive them back to school for afternoon classes and also pick them up at the end of the day.

The Saskatoon Catholic school division says it has shortened its days and will dismiss students one hour and 20 minutes early.

Saskatchewan Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill has said remaining Grade 12 graduations are to go ahead regardless of whether teachers are there.

The job action is the latest phase in a lengthy negotiation between teachers and Premier Scott Moe's Saskatchewan Party government over a new collective agreement.

In talks last week, teachers rejected the province's proposal to go into binding arbitration, saying they want to negotiate.

Binding arbitration would take bargaining out of the hands of both sides and give it to a neutral third party to resolve.

Before that, teachers refused two previous offers from the province, saying neither had done enough to reduce classroom sizes and provide supports for students with additional needs.

Cockrill has said he's been disappointed in the talks, noting the most recent proposal promised $18 million more for classroom issues.

Cockrill has said binding arbitration provides a clear path forward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

Jeremy Simes, The Canadian Press