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Sherbrooke, Tuesday, August 2, 2011– Without a contract for more than two-and-a-half years, support staff at the Université de Sherbrookeare gearing up for a stormy start to the school year. At a conciliation session yesterday, their union representatives responded to the latest offers from management, which constitute another step backward. On July 19, management proposed a salary structure integrating the work on pay equity, although this has not yet come to term and should not be the subject of negotiation. The union categorically rejected this structure yesterday.

Once again yesterday, the employer persisted in brandishing the government wage policy (PSG), despite the fact that the University has no connection to it and our union has never negotiated it. In addition, their July 19th proposal included wage offers that move the parties even father apart by including a wage freeze for 40 positions, which was never discussed before. The PSG offer would already place us among the lowest paid university support staff in Quebec,” according to union representative Éric Bergeron.

Because of this new stalemate in the negotiations, the union reiterated its rejection of the employer’s request for a truce in pressure tactics from August 15 to September 24.

“It’s not our role to cater to the employer’s insecurity. Between April 28 and July 19, management cancelled all the negotiation dates, and subsequently sent us only negative signals. We are open to a truce; we can envision the start of term without pressure tactics. But for that to happen, we need some positive signs, such as finally responding to our offer of April 28, and submitting salary offers to us that are comparable to those negotiated by our counterparts at UQAC,” said Bergeron.

In October 2010, some 1,400 members of SEESUS (the union of support staff at the Université de Sherbrooke, CUPE 7498) voted 88 per cent for pressure tactics up to a strike. They held a 24-hour strike on July 5 and 6. Most of these workers have been without a contract since January 1, 2009, but about a hundred research employees have been waiting for renewal for more than five years, since June 2006.


For more Information:      Éric Bergeron, Union Representative, 819 993-3015