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Qub0065c, Monday, June 16, 2003 - Tomorrow, the 1,750 support employees at the Universit 004caval will vote on the agreement in principle between their union and the administration of the university. Jean Coulombe, president of the Syndicat des employs0020et employe0073 de lUniversit 004caval (SEUL) affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-FTQ), considers that an important step has been taken in recognizing the employees and [that] bargaining with the university took place in a harmonious atmosphere of mutual respect.

Highlights of the Agreement
The new labour contract will be in force for four years, from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2006. It provides retroactive increases of 1.8% on June 1, 2002 and 2% on January 1, 2003. For the remaining years, increases will be the same as those negotiated in the public and para-public sector in Qub0065c. In addition, discrepancies in the employees salary structure have been corrected. In particular, close to 400 women working as secretaries, office clerks, etc. will have their remuneration improved, passing automatically from class 9 to class 10 on signing of the agreement.

An important point in the agreement is that the parties have agreed on a qualification recognition plan. Approximately 40% of the support staff at the University, some 700 persons, will be eligible for retirement within the next few years. These retirement departures could result in up to 2,500 movements among the personnel. For the employees who remain, posting of these numerous vacant positions offers interesting opportunities for advancement and career path improvement. In the qualification recognition plan, the parties have agreed that experience could replace educational requirements and a diploma could make up for the experience required. For Jean Coulombe, This portion of the agreement will enable true career possibilities for many people who already work at Universit 004caval.

Last autumn, just as bargaining was about to start, a vast publicity campaign (bus shelters, posters, etc.) carried out by the Union called attention to the fact that the support staff were standing firm. Then, on March 19 of this year, after 12 bargaining sessions, during which no common ground for agreement was found, several hundred employees marched on the Qub0065c university campus to demonstrate their impatience with the sluggish pace of the bargaining.

SEUL represents some 1,750 support employees at Universit 004caval. These are white collar and blue collar office, technical, trade and service workers, most of whom are women. SEUL is an important component in the university sector represented by CUPE, which has 15,000 members in education, 8000 of whom work in Qub0065c universities, mainly as support personnel. CUPE is also active in other sectors of activity such as communications, municipalities, health and social services, hydroelectricity, urban and air transportation, provincial corporations and public organizations. With 100,000 members, CUPE is also the largest FTQ affiliate.

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