On the cusp of labour peace at TRU
Labour strife is no more for Thompson Rivers University's 600 unionized support workers.
The school and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4879 have reached a tentative deal that will see two per cent wage hikes in two consecutive years.
Though technically a four-year contract retroactively stretching back to 2010, the deal will expire on April 1, 2014.
"We were able to create this agreement through co-operative gains — cost savings and additional income," said Christopher Seguin, TRU's vice-president of advancement.
"Those are the changes we've been making over the last couple of years, like finding efficiencies, travel changes, parking fees."
CUPE Local 4879 president Lois Rugg said the bargaining process process was prolonged by red tape, noting any item that included a monetary element had to be sent to Victoria for approval.
As an example, Rugg said an item such as granting bereavement leave for the death of a grandchild were denied because it was considered a monetary item by the government's Post Secondary Education Council).
"We're not happy with how the process went but, at this point, we feel it's the best deal we could get at this time," she told KTW. "It's been a long time, so it's nice to get this process behind us."
According to Seguin, TRU had to keep Victoria in the loop.
"We're a public institution with a provincial mandate that we stay within," he said.
"But, I think we came to a fair and sustainable agreement."
The deal came after three weeks of job action, during which time workers walked off the job more than once.
However, classes were never disrupted.
Rugg believes union members will be happy with the deal.
"We won't know for sure until we do have the ratification vote, but we do have a deal we think the members will accept," she said.
A date for the ratification vote has yet to be set, though Rugg said she hopes to see it held early next week.