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Labour dispute ends with salary increases, hiring of 60 full-time profs, no change to pension

Photo by Adam Feibel

 

STUDENTS CAN BREATHE easier now that the potential professors’ strike at the University of Ottawa has been avoided.

The U of O and its professors’ union reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement at the end of mediation on the night of Aug. 4 following months of back-and-forth between the two parties.

The tentative agreement includes salary increases and the hiring of 60 more full-time professors. Additionally, the university will not make changes to professors’ pensions as previously planned.

The agreement averts the possibility of a strike or lockout that could have begun as early as Aug. 8 after the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) successfully called a strike mandate on July 31.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached a tentative settlement,” university president Allan Rock said in a statement. “This deal addresses some of the key long-standing issues, such as pension and tenure track positions. It also offers increased compensation that is in line with what other Ontario professors have received. I would like to commend all parties for their efforts and such a successful result.”

The main issues during negotiation were staff-to-student ratios, the creation of teaching-only positions, salary increases, and proposed pension reform.

The APUO represents more than 1,200 professors and academic librarians at the U of O.

U of O communications director Patrick Charette said the terms of the agreement will not be released until the deal is ratified by APUO membership and the university’s board of governors.

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa issued an official statement Aug. 5 that said though the university is still short roughly 400 professors at this time, the hiring of 60 new profs is “a step in the right direction.”

“We are happy to see that the APUO and [the university] are working together to ensure students have good learning conditions,” the statement read.

Charette said pension negotiations with Support Staff University of Ottawa are still ongoing.