SYDNEY, N.S. — The faculty and administration at Cape Breton University say they are optimistic job action can be avoided as they await a conciliator's report in January.
Both sides say progress was made during conciliation talks held earlier this month, though workload and money remain outstanding issues.
Barry Moore, a spokesman for the faculty association, says professors are seeking a reduction in the number of courses they teach to allow more time for research.
Moore also says both sides have presented a benefits package, but he will not disclose any details.
He says the difference between the employer and the union when it comes to money is significant.
University president David Wheeler says he's hopeful a settlement can be reached despite the school's fiscal challenges following three years of budget cuts.
The conciliator's report is expected to be delivered Jan. 7.
That will trigger a two-week waiting period after which the employer can lock out its employees, or the union can go on strike.
Provincial legislation allows the two sides to get together any time before or after the report is delivered, but no talks are currently scheduled.