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Sask. teacher sanctions to lift Friday as union heads back to bargaining table

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) said on Friday that talks with the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee (GTBC) are set to resume next week.

The federation said all sanctions involved in the work action will be lifted Friday at 11:59 p.m. with talks resuming on Tuesday, adding that no additional sanctions will take place during bargaining.

Saskatchewan teachers have been under a work-to-rule model since Monday, which had educators at schools only 15 minutes before and after work and stripped them of participating in all voluntary actions including noon-hour supervision and extracurriculars.

They began using sanctions as a tool in their bargaining in January, cancelling class trips and sporting events and participating in rotating strikes.

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“We have been assured that the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee has a new mandate to properly address all of the issues important to teachers. The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee believes this commitment by the government is a positive step,” said STF president Samantha Becotte in a news release Friday.

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Teachers have been pushing for increased funding to address class size, as well as classroom complexity in a new collective agreement.

“Teachers have maintained that accountability measures must accompany government funding in order to ensure resources go to support students and improve their learning experience,” Becotte’s statement read. “We are optimistic that this understanding represents a significant step forward in negotiations and brings a tentative agreement within reach.”

The STF requested one line be added to the collective agreement to make the promise binding, asking the government that the parties agree that the multi-year funding agreement and the accountability framework will be followed and honoured.

The line was previously denied by the government, prompting the most recent work-to-rule action from teachers.

— More to come.

— With files from Global News’ Andrew Benson and Brody Langager. 

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