Like all publicly funded institutions in this province, our university faces a directive from the Government of Saskatchewan to constrain the total cost of employee compensation so that it is no greater than what it was in 2016–17. The government suggests that the Board of Governors achieve this goal by entering into negotiations immediately and considering such measures as freezing in-range increments, general wage increases, and performance/bonus pay for U of S employees.
This overreach is unwarranted and virtually unprecedented at our university. The USFA’s position—in no uncertain terms—is that the U of S is an autonomous institution. The Government of Saskatchewan is not a party to our Collective Agreement, and should not be interfering with the right of the university as an independent employer to set its own negotiations mandate. We oppose the imposition of any terms and conditions that detract from our current Collective Agreement.
The government also indicates that progress towards achieving the directive will be monitored. However, employers have legal obligations under collective agreements to their employees. Any attempt rescind or unilaterally change legally negotiated contracts would be unlawful.
We should not be paying for the government’s poor choices on the way to ringing up its $1.2B debt.