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Jan 28, 2013

Faculty on strike at St. Francis Xavier University

Members fighting for better wages and benefits
    
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More than 400 faculty and staff at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., are on strike.

The pickets, which began Monday morning, will be taking place at five locations across the campus and will work in shifts between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The members of the St. FX Association of University Teachers (StFXAUT) have been without a contract for eight months.

A last attempt at preventing a strike ended last week after two days of talks between the union and the employer.

Three weeks ago, the faculty association argued for a salary increase of 10 or 11 per cent over four years. The university offered 6.9 per cent, which the union rejected.

The union is also arguing for improved working conditions, permanent status for contract teachers and better health benefits.

"Many of our members are on contract or limited term positions — more than a third of our membership in fact — and they're quite worried about their job security. So that's an issue for that vulnerable group, but also they don't have any benefits at all, the part timers,” Peter McInnis, president of the StFXAUT, said, adding the university’s offer is “below recent Atlantic university settlements and well below the cost of living.”

All classes at the university are cancelled for the moment.

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