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The support staff of the University of Sherbrooke has been without a contract for the past two and a half years and are expecting an eventful return to work this September once classes restart at the university.
At a conciliation session on Monday, their union representatives responded to the latest offer made by management, which has now resulted in an even further pushback of their initial agreement.
Back on July 19 management had proposed a salary structure which would integrate pay equity into the new contract, even though neither side have come to terms on a new contract, therefore meaning that its details should not currently be a subject of negotiation.
Yesterday, the union signalled its official rejection of the new structure.
â€śEmployers were being held to a stubborn wage policy by the Government, of which the university is not related to and that our union has never negotiated. In addition to that, the July 19 proposal included wage offers that separate the parties which could lead to a wage freeze for 40 different functions, which had also never been discussed before. Already, the offer made to us would mean that university employees would remain some of the worst paid in Quebecâ€ť said union representative Eric Bergeron in an official statement.
Because of the new delay in negotiations, the union also reiterated its rejection of a truce called for pressure tactics from August 15 to September 24.
"It's not our role to manage the uncertainty of the employer. Between April 28 and July 19, management has cancelled all of the dates of negotiation, which eventually started being perceived by us as negative signals. We are open to a truce; we can look back without any means of pressure. But for that to happen, we need positive signalsâ€ť said Eric Bergeron.
Back in October of 2010, some 1,400 members of the Union of Support Employees of the University de Sherbrooke voted 88 per cent in favour of an eventual strike. On July 5 and 6 they held a 24 hour strike after being without a contract since January 1 2009. Others have it even worse, as about 100 employees in the research department have been waiting for renewal of their contract since June 2006, more than five years.