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Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation president Samantha Becotte speaks to members of the media after the speech from the throne is delivered in Regina on Oct. 25, 2023.Heywood Yu/The Canadian Press

Teachers in Saskatchewan have given notice that they intend to have a one-day provincewide strike Tuesday as bargaining for a new collective agreement reaches an impasse.

Samantha Becotte, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president, says the last thing educators want is to affect the school year

She says the union is exhausting every possible option to get the provincial government back to the table.

Contracts for Saskatchewan teachers ended in August and educators voted in October to support job sanctions if negotiations stalled.

The union says in a news release that if the province begins to bargain on critical issues, such as classroom sizes and complexity, then the planned strike will be stopped.

Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill says those issues should be addressed outside of the bargaining process.

“We have demonstrated our commitment to addressing classroom complexity with record funding, and two brand new pilot projects announced just this week,” Cockrill said in an emailed statement Thursday.

“We know that disrupting learning is not what is in the best interest of students, and that deals are reached at the bargaining table, not on the picket line.”

Cockrill said the province’s bargaining committee put forward a deal with a seven per cent raise over three years, which will ensure Saskatchewan teachers are paid about the western Canadian average.

The union said if issues around classroom sizes are not addressed, then additional job action will follow next week’s strike.

The legal requirement for notice of job action is 48 hours, but the union said the five-day countdown was to provide families with extra time to prepare. It will also give government an opportunity to change course, the union said.

“This is not bargaining; they are making decisions based on politics and student learning is suffering for it,” Becotte said in a news release Thursday.

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