The government vrs the Saskatchewan Teachers

If you want to check the numbers and the arguments on both sides I got some links for you.

In this corner, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation looking for a 12% raise over one year. 

In this corner we have the wildly popular Saskatchewan government, flush with oil and potash royalty revenue offering 5.5% over 3 years.
Main point: Saskatchewan teachers only want to be paid half-way between what Manitoba and Alberta teachers get. Main point: Saskatchewan teachers are already paid between one and three thousand dollars more than the Canadian average.  No need for a big increase.
Second point: Saskatchewan teachers have lost purchasing power since 1983, the 12% wage increase only moves teachers back closer to the place they were at in the 80’s. Second point: CPI (inflation) has gone up 33% and teacher wages have gone up about 55% since 1997.

Which side do I find more compelling?  I hate to say it because I’m friends with a lot of teachers but I’d be closer to the government’s position.  5.5% over 3 years would be a hard pill to swallow given that inflation is running over 3% with food and fuel factored in.  The Government’s offer should be at least at the level of inflation.

I don’t think it is fair or reasonable to expect the Saskatchewan government to pay anything close to the absurd and unsustainable levels Alberta compensates all sorts of public sector employees.  Alberta has really wrecked things for other provinces because they have been able to afford paying people what other provinces simply can’t afford to pay.   In doing this they drain the talent from other less wealthy provinces hurting the rest of the Canada to benefit themselves.  Now Alberta can’t balance the budget at historically high oil prices.  I don’t think it would be wise to follow their example.

I don’t find the argument about purchasing power from the 1980’s compelling.  the 1980’s was an era of unsustainably high government spending. 

  1. #1 by Keith on June 2, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Good post LT. I felt it would be fair to give them what the Government offered them. I like teachers but that seems like an outrageous amount in 1 year. I wonder how many teachers would be out of work due to an inability to pay those higher wages if they did, do get 12% increase. I thought they were originally asking for 16%. Or was it always 12%?
    finally something we agree on, kinda scary… lol! maybe you’ll start cheering for the Canucks too.

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