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Wednesday, 13 July 2011 16:04

Teachers almost at agreement with government

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Saskatchewan’s teachers are closer than ever to a new contract thanks to the mediation process.

Richard Hornung’s independent look at the teachers’ labour issues with the provincial government has brought the two sides together to the point where they’re working on language and a few final issues before a tentative agreement is reached.

According to the report Hornung filed to the Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety on July 5, the two sides created a completely new funding model that will keep Saskatchewan teachers’ wages comparable to those of teachers in B.C., Alberta and Manitoba.

Based on the new formula, the teachers have agreed to a 1.5 per cent, two per cent and two per cent increase over three years as long as there are market adjustments.

Both sides agreed that, based on the new formula, the teachers with the least experience will receive a 5.01 per cent market adjustment increase during the three years. The highest-paid teachers will only receive a 3.34 per cent increase. Increments in between the lowest and highest paid teachers will be equal based on number of years’ of experience.

The two sides were still negotiating the language to modify the 15 step salary grid in Saskatchewan to an 11 step grid. They are still working out how the market adjustments will be paid out over the course of the contract as well.

Hornung recommended the pay grid change during the 2011-12 school year, the second year of the contract, with half of the market rates being implemented in the first year of the contract and the other half being implemented in the second year of the deal.

There are a few other language issues the two sides are working out.

One item that is uncertain is when teachers will be able to vote on a potential contract when the two sides agree to a tentative agreement, as they are all on holidays.

Gwen Dueck, the president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, did not return phone calls to comment on the matter.

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