CUPE job action expected at B.C. universities

Job security, inflation protection among top issues
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 10/04/2012

Support staff and teaching assistants who work at various universities in British Columbia are expected to stage job action on Oct. 4 at various locations throughout the province.

The 12,000 workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), work at the University of British Columbia, the University of Northern B.C., Thompson Rivers University, Royal Roads University and Simon Fraser University. They join CUPE members at the University of Victoria, where ongoing strike action started Sept. 4 in response to an overtime ban and the closure of several campus buildings.

The members are looking for protection against inflation, better job security and increased wages. The union told the CBC they have been without a contract since 2010, but recent government cuts to post-secondary education are hindering their ability to bargain.

“What's been happening is we've been met with huge frustration because our employees at the universities can't sit down and negotiate a fair and respectful agreement with the various universities,” Colleen Garbe, president of CUPE Local 116, told the CBC. “The province is tying their hands."

Garbe added that job action will intensify until an agreement is reached.

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