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Vancouver Island University faculty are on strike

Ravi Mahabear and Michael Boquist brave the rain to picket the VIU Parksville campus. - Auren Ruvinsky
Ravi Mahabear and Michael Boquist brave the rain to picket the VIU Parksville campus.
— image credit: Auren Ruvinsky

School’s out for about 18,000 full and part-time Vancouver Island University students.

A 72 hour strike notice by the VIU Faculty Association (VIUFA) expired Thursday morning and classes were cancelled as instructors picketed in the heavy wind and rain.

“The university proposal is to continue the existing contract,” said Toni O’Keeffe, VIU communications director.

The main sticking point is the union asking for a no layoff clause.

This would in effect be a 4.7 per cent loss of purchasing power over the next two years, according to the VIUFA website.

“We are disappointed with this turn of events,” VIUFA President Dan McDonald said in a press release. “In the end, the employer brought no new ideas to the mediation process.”

“This dispute is really about budget priorities,” McDonald said. “The cost of administrators’ salary and benefits have risen over 40 per cent in the last four years while courses have been cut and thousands of students have been stranded on wait-lists.”

The VIUFA members have been without a contract since April, 2010 but negotiations are actively ongoing.

As of Thursday morning, March 10, all classes, services and activities at all of the school’s campuses, including Parksville, are cancelled until further notice.

Some off campus activities may still be running. Students and staff should keep an eye on the website (www.viu.ca) for up to date information.

 

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