VIU faculty strike continues

Thousands of students are still waiting for Vancouver Island University professors and administrators to come to an agreement on a new contract after talks broke down again on Saturday.

  • Mar. 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Thousands of students are still waiting for Vancouver Island University professors and administrators to come to an agreement on a new contract after talks broke down again on Saturday.

The VIU Faculty Association has been on strike since March 10.

Both parties met Saturday – for the first time in more than a week – with a government-appointed mediator, but that mediator was done by that afternoon, said VIU spokeswoman Toni O’Keeffe.

“After a few hours, the mediator backed away from the table because he felt the parties were still too far apart,” she said.

Dan McDonald, faculty association president, said Monday the group has taken the no-layoff clause proposal off the table in favour of requiring administrators to prove that program cuts and layoffs are financially necessary and that cuts cannot be made elsewhere in the university’s budget.

The VIUFA tabled five new proposals Saturday that it says address job security concerns of members, including requiring administrators to involve the faculty association in examining alternatives to layoffs and giving VIUFA members 18 months notice of cuts.

The university’s bargaining committee responded ‘no’ to each of the proposals put forward by the association, said McDonald.

No further talks are scheduled.

The university reached a tentative agreement with its employees in the B.C. Government Employees’ Union on Friday, O’Keeffe said, but details of the agreement weren’t available Monday.

The BCGEU represents instructors working in program areas such as trades, health sciences and adult basic education. VIU is also negotiating with its CUPE union workers.

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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