Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology staff strike

Union and institution accuse one another of ending mediation talks
||Last Updated: 10/20/2011

About 1,300 instructors and 700 other unionized staff at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) are on strike. The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU) members walked off the job Sept. 6, 2011 after mediation talks failed the night before.

UPDATE: Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology sign mediation agreement

The job action means no classes will be taking place for about 15,000 students at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon.

“SGEU abandoned mediation in less than 24 hours. All the while they were negotiating, they continued to plan strike action,” SIAST president and CEO Dr. Robert G. McCulloch said in a release. “This demonstrates they were not interested in reaching an agreement. They were bound and determined to go on strike.”

The union denies ending mediation, insisting that it was management that concluded talks.

"We worked with the mediator until late Monday night and were taken off guard when SIAST unilaterally altered a proposed agreement. The change they made would have effectively taken away our right to strike,” said SGEU President Bob Bymoen in a post on the union’s website. “They presented the document they had revised — which they knew we could not accept — and walked away from the table. SGEU did not end the mediation process. We were there and prepared to keep on working towards a settlement.”

Pay continues to be the main issue in the dispute. Prior to mediation, SIAST made a final offer of 5.5 per cent over three years, which was rejected by the union.

The last contract expired in June 2009.

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