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Sherbrooke, QCSome 40 employees of the Registrar’s Office at the Université de Sherbrooke went on strike at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Frustrated by slow negotiations, members of the union representing support employees at the university, want to get talks moving again. The 120 support employees working on research have been without a collective agreement since June 16, 2006, over five years ago. As for 1,280 others, their contract expired on December 31, 2008.

The main stumbling block in these negotiations concerns, quite simply, is wage increases that match the cost of living. The university administration is trying to hide behind the Quebec government’s wage policy and this will tend to make our members poorer. The institution’s financial status does not in any way justify this step backwards,” said Stéphane Caron, president of the Syndicat des employées et employés de soutien de l’Université de Sherbrooke (SEESUS-CUPE 7498).

Our institution gives an impression of innovation and leadership, and we’re proud of it. However, it has to treat its support employees with respect. They are always there, behind the scenes, ensuring its success. We deserve better than interminable delays in negotiations, better than wage increases that don’t keep up with inflation. We don’t want to derail the start of classes in the fall, but our bosses have to understand that they can’t put off a negotiated settlement indefinitely,” Stéphane Caron added.

In October 2010, SEESUS’ 1,400 members voted 88 per cent in favor of job action up to and including a strike. They held a 24-hour strike on July 5 and 6, 2011.