Plans in place in case of col­lege strike or lock out

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - NEWS - BRAD SHERRATT

KIRK­LAND LAKE - In the event of a strike or lock­out at North­ern Col­lege, Pres­i­dent Fred Gib­bons says they have made con­tin­gency plans.

The cam­puses would be open for stu­dents to study and work on as­sign­ments, he said. In terms of how they would make up any­time lost, Gib­bons wasn’t spe­cific but did say they have plans for ex­am­ple if a week, two weeks or even a month is lost.

He said it is im­por­tant to note there has never been a sit­u­a­tion where stu­dents lost a year be­cause of a col­lege strike or lock­out.

Gib­bons said the two sides met for most of last week but have since taken a break. At this time it is not known when the two sides will be get­ting back at the ta­ble.

The con­cil­ia­tor in con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween On­tario’s pub­lic col­leges and their union­ized fac­ulty has con­firmed Oc­to­ber 15 at 12:01 a.m. as the time a le­gal strike or lock­out could be­gin at all 24 pub­lic col­leges in the province.

“The rea­son for re­quest­ing the no-board re­port, and thus a le­gal strike or lock­out date, was to en­cour­age our em­ployer to get down to busi­ness and work with us at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble to reach a fair set­tle­ment,” said JP Hor­nick, chair of the union’s col­lege fac­ulty bar­gain­ing team. “That re­mains our goal. Our team will do ev­ery­thing in its power to achieve that set­tle­ment.”

Un­der the rules set out in the Col­leges Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Act, the union is re­quired to give five days’ no­tice prior to go­ing on strike, and the Col­lege Em­ployer Coun­cil must give five days’ no­tice of a lock­out.

This means an actual strike or lock­out dead­line could come af­ter Oc­to­ber 15.

Key is­sues in this round of bar­gain­ing re­late to ed­u­ca­tion qual­ity and the on­go­ing ex­ploita­tion of con­tract fac­ulty.

Lad Shaba the lo­cal Pres­i­dent for the fac­ulty union at North­ern Col­lege said “we are ready to go on strike but we don’t want to.” Sahba said he feels how­ever the em­ployer is look­ing for a strike. He said it isn’t about money it’s more to do with the fact that 70 per cent of the fac­ulty at North­ern are part timers and are not be­ing treated fairly. In his words they are be­ing “ex­ploited”.

He added this is ob­vi­ously not a good sit­u­a­tion for the stu­dents so they hope a strike can be averted.

OPSEU rep­re­sents more than 12,000 pro­fes­sors, in­struc­tors, coun­selors, and li­brar­i­ans in the col­lege sys­tem.

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