Ontario’s college support workers resume contract talks

Union accuses colleges of bargaining in the media
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 09/01/2011

Contract talks resume today in an effort to prevent a strike by Ontario’s college support staff on Sept. 1, 2011.

UPDATE: Ontario college support staff on strike

The 8,000 workers provided their union with a strike mandate last week, which could delay the start of the new school year for college students across the province.

Last week, the bargaining team representing Ontario’s 24 colleges presented their latest offer through the media, according to a release issued by the Ontario Public Employee’s Service Union (OPSEU).

“Contracts are settled at the bargaining table and not through the news media late on a Friday afternoon,” said chair of the OPSEU bargaining team Rod Bemister. “We look forward to resuming negotiations on Aug. 29 as previously scheduled.”

The offer tabled by the College Employer Council (CEC) contains the following wage adjustments:

  • a one-time lump sum payment equal to 1.5 per cent of annual salary in the first year
  • a salary increase of 1.5 per cent in the second year
  • a salary increase of 1.75 per cent in the third year

According to the CEC, this new offer raises the average annual support staff salary by approximately $1,845 to just under $58,172 after three years and the initial lump sum payment will equate to an average payment of $845 per member.

"We want to reach a negotiated settlement and we have put a good offer on the table," said chair of the college’s bargaining team Gerry Barker. "It reflects the realities of the current constrained economic environment and is in line with the pattern of recent settlements within the broader public sector."

OPSEU is asking for a three per cent increase each year over the life of the contract.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue daily until Aug. 31, 2011.

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