Monday, February 18, 2013

Faculty at St. Francis Xavier University vote in favour of new agreement

ANTIGONISH ? Unionized faculty at Nova Scotia?s St. Francis Xavier University have voted in favour of a tentative agreement that will bring students back to the classroom Monday following a three-week strike.

Union president Peter McInnis said about 330 ballots were cast and members voted 96 per cent in favour of the contract offer from administration.

The deal includes an eight per cent salary increase over four years and improvements to job security and health benefits for part-time contract workers and full-time employees, said McInnis.

?It?s pretty much what we had requested,? McInnis said in a telephone interview. ?The university finally came around to our way of thinking.?

?(Faculty) will... go back Monday morning with new focus in trying to get the university to pay added attention to the academic mission. That?s what we?ve been saying all along.?

The strike at the school in Antigonish began Jan. 28 after 400 faculty and supporters went eight months without a contract.

The strike drew mounting criticism of both sides from student groups worried about lost classroom time.

The school year will be extended by one week to ensure the university?s 4,200 students can complete their academic requirements.

The university did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday.

Meanwhile, the union representing support workers at the university will vote Wednesday on the administration?s latest offer.

But Joan Jessome of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union has said that she expects its 135 union members will reject the deal.

If the offer is turned down, the conciliator will file a report with the province.

The workers would then be in a legal strike position on March 8.


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