'Disappointing' contract will give Sask. teachers 1% raise over 2 years
Arbitration board releases agreement that covers 13,500 STF members
Saskatchewan teachers now have a two-year collective agreement approved by an arbitrator, although it will not be the richest contract they have ever received.
The contract freezes teachers' salaries in the first year of the agreement. Teachers will get a one per cent increase at the end of the second year of the contract, which expires Aug. 31, 2019.
"We knew arbitration was going to have some wins and some losses," said Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation.
He acknowledged that teachers would likely find the arbitration decision on salary "disappointing," particularly as the cost of living is increasing in Saskatchewan.
"At the same point, the government was attempting — right to the end — of asking for a 3.67 per cent pay decrease, and that also wasn't awarded," he said.
Teachers may also be disappointed to see the issue of class sizes and composition will not be revisited, he said.
"The arbitrator didn't see fit to award that, which is frustrating because we want the best learning situation for our students," he said.
However, on what Maze described as brighter notes, the arbitrator did recognize a task force's proposals on protecting teacher time, and capping teachers' assigned time, as well as broadened the scope under which teachers could file grievances about working conditions.
"For the next year, we've got some certainty. That said, we'll be right back at the bargaining table soon," he said, noting that legislation states that negotiations must begin 100 days before the expiration of a contract.
"And the government has taken away the right to file for arbitration going forward. It will be interesting to see how that proceeds in the future."
The government had earlier said it was fully committed to funding the new contract.
The teachers' federation has 13,500 members.