Saskatchewan

Students walk out in advance of teachers strike

Some Saskatchewan students stage a walkout of their own in advance of the teachers' two-day strike scheduled to start Wednesday.

Some Saskatchewan students staged a walkout of their own Tuesday in advance of the teachers' two-day strike scheduled to start Wednesday.

Small groups of students walked out in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Gravelbourg.

Students rally in front of the legislature in Regina on Tuesday, hoping teachers and the government strike a deal so that class disruptions stop. (CBC)

In Regina, about 50 students gathered outside the legislature. The teens said they want an agreement soon that values both students and teachers.

"I think the teachers deserve their raise," said Kelsey Brown, one of the students at the legislature. "They do so much for us. They know us almost as well as our parents know us, maybe more."

Kody Mark, who attends F.W. Johnson Collegiate, said teachers are needed during poor economic conditions.

"Without teachers, we cannot honestly have students learning these new careers to stabilize our economy," he said.

Joel Gendron, a Grade 10 student at Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert, said if teachers can walk off the job then students should be able to do the same.

"They can take days off school to protest, but if we want to take off two periods, they get pissed off," he said. "I don't think that's fair."

Contract talks broke off Thursday between the teachers union, which represents about 12,000 members, and the provincial government-trustees bargaining committee.

Both groups have said the other side is bargaining in bad faith. Teachers are asking for a 16 per cent pay increase over three years, while the employer has offered six per cent over the same time frame.

Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation officials said all professional and voluntary services will be withdrawn for a 48-hour period starting Wednesday.

It's the second mass walkout by teachers this month, following a one-day walkout on May 5.