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Job action underway at CNC

CUPE members Danielle Funesca (left), Wayne Jones, Lily Bichand, and Stacy Wittmeier walk the picket line at the College of New Caledonia Tuesday morning. - Bill PHILLIPS/Free Press
CUPE members Danielle Funesca (left), Wayne Jones, Lily Bichand, and Stacy Wittmeier walk the picket line at the College of New Caledonia Tuesday morning.
— image credit: Bill PHILLIPS/Free Press

The CNC faculty association will honour the picket lines CUPE Local 4951 members will have in place Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning their will be no classes for students for at least two days.

“All college courses, programs and services at all six CNC campuses, with the exception of essential services such as power plants, will be suspended all day and night Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Randall Heidt, CNC director of communications and development. “This includes Continuing Education courses, gym rentals and day care services.”

Spring semester fees are now due Nov. 23 by 4 p.m., postponed because of the strike action.

According to a press release from CNC, the strike is likely to begin 6 a.m. Tuesday and last  until Wednesday at 11 p.m.

"Hopefully it will be over Thursday at the latest," Heidt said.

In spite of a protocol that's in place between the union and college saying the institution would be informed first if there was to be a strike, Heidt confirmed they originally learned of the pending job action through media reports.

"Well, it's unfortunate that happened, but we're still hopeful this will be worked out at the bargaining table," Heidt said.

CUPE Local 4951 includes all operational staff for the College of New Caledonia, with 312 full time, part time, seasonal, fixed term and casual members.

Contract talks between the union and college broke off Nov. 8 after union members presented a settlement to the college and were told there was no money for a new contract.

A press release from CUPE states: "The union says the problem is not with the employer, but with the provincial government. Under the BC Liberals’ Cooperative Gains Mandate, colleges have to find ‘savings’ in their already stretched operations to convert into long overdue wage increases for support workers."

The release goes on to say CUPE Local 4951 has been without a contract since 2010. Main issues include a fair wage increase and inflation protection in-line with other recent public sector contract settlements.

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