Ontario colleges are set for possible strike Oct. 15

Laurie Makulski Harrison
By Laurie Makulski Harrison September 29, 2017 16:03

By Ennis Liu

The semester has barely begun but already college students in Ontario could be out of school within the next couple of weeks.

A mediator has set Oct. 15 as the date for a legal strike or lockout to begin if negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the province’s 24 colleges continue to be unresolved.

Administrators at St. Clair College said they are hoping for a settlement.

“We’re hopeful that both sides of the negotiations can come to an agreement so there is no work stoppage among faculty,” said John Fairley, vice-president of college communications and community relations.

He added, if there is a strike or lockout, the college will remain open for students, but classes will be cancelled.

Some of the teachers and staff at the college are still unsure what will happen next.

“Even though the students and the faculty may not be in class for a week or several weeks, there will be a plan to make sure students catch up with the work,” said Veronique Mandal, coordinator of the journalism, public relations and media convergence programs.

“No students will be penalized for the strike,” added Mandal.

The union said the key issues are education quality and the working conditions for contract faculty, which make up the majority of staff. Of the members who cast ballots, it said 68 per cent voted in favour of a strike.

The colleges have offered a four-year extension to the existing contract that increases salaries by 7.5 per cent to a new maximum of $115,094. That contract covers full-time faculty and some contract workers.

Both sides said they are committed to avoiding a labour disruption.

Laurie Makulski Harrison
By Laurie Makulski Harrison September 29, 2017 16:03

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