VANCOUVER, B.C.- Spring may have entered like a lamb for some, but not for instructors, teaching assistants and support staff in BC’s universities who are in their 15th day of mediation and still facing employers who are bent on contracting-out, exploiting student labour and freezing pay grades for the lowest paid workers in the ranks. In addition, bargaining committees are still waiting for a fair wage offer.
“Twelve-thousand university workers from every BC university have been battling employers simply to come to the mediation table,” says Connie Credico. “ Now that they are here their counter proposals have been outrageous. The money offer is low and insulting and they refuse to take contracting-out and student exploitation off the table.”
Three universities have received strong strike mandates from their employers. CUPE support staff at the University of Victoria, and UBC’s trades and services workers while TSSU’s teaching assistants and language instructors have all given their bargaining committees a mandate to strike should that become necessary.
“CUPE members at UBC were legislated back to work during the last round of bargaining. And the general wage increases in this sector totalled 2 per cent for a six year period,” says Credico. “While the bonus looks good, it can’t make up for low wages in the long term.”
CUPE and TSSU bargaining committees from UVic, Royal Roads, UBC, SFU, TRU and UNBC are at the BC Labour Relations Board at 1066 Hastings Street trying to break the deadlock on privatization, student exploitation and the growth of low wage ghettos in BC’s pre-eminent post secondary institutions.
For up-to-date bargaining information go to www.cupebargains.ca