The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has provided 48-hours’ notice of a one-day province-wide strike on Wednesday, March 20, and a two-day withdrawal of extracurricular activities on Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22. By law, 48-hours’ notice is required for job action.

“Government’s unwillingness to work with teachers in finding any path forward has forced this decision, which will impact students and communities both big and small across the province,” says STF President Samantha Becotte. “Teachers have done their part to avoid more job action. We have bargained in good faith, and we have been clear that our opening proposals are only a starting point for discussion. We invited government to take part in binding arbitration on the single issue of class size and complexity, but the education minister rejected the offer within hours. The refusal of Minister Cockrill and Premier Moe to compromise are to blame for the strike and students’ loss of extracurricular activities in the days to come.”

The one-day strike coincides with the announcement of the provincial budget. More than 4,000 teachers will deliver a strong message to government at the Legislative Building in Regina, while hundreds more will take part in demonstrations at other locations throughout the province. Supporters are encouraged to join the demonstrations to show that proper funding for education is a concern for more than just teachers.

“Thousands of teachers will bring the message right to government’s doorstep,” Becotte says. “The Premier and Education Minister are not listening to teachers, and they are not listening to the thousands of parents, caregivers and students who are calling on government to respond to the needs of education.”

The two-day, provincewide withdrawal of extracurricular activities March 21 and 22 means teachers will not provide voluntary services involved in the organization, supervision and facilitation of activities including athletics, non-curricular arts, field trips, student travel, graduation preparations, school clubs and other activities. This includes Hoopla, the provincial high school basketball championships in Moose Jaw, and the Optimist Band Festival in Regina, which are both taking place this week.

“We are fighting to improve the learning conditions for all students across Saskatchewan,” Becotte says. “Extracurricular activities are an incredibly valuable part of the school experience for both students and teachers, but the education of children and youth is always our first priority. We can no longer watch the decline of our students’ learning environment while government ignores reality and refuses to make a commitment to predictable, sustainable funding for prekindergarten to Grade 12 education.”

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