UNB and striking faculty reach tentative agreement
More details on tentative deal expected Friday
The University of New Brunswick and its striking faculty have reached a tentative agreement, according to a statement issued by the union on Thursday.
Both sides are recommending the suspension of the strike and lockout, the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers said.
"The parties agree to jointly announce further details within the next 24 hours," it states.
About 550 full-time professors, teaching staff and librarians walked off the job on Jan. 13 over wages and working conditions.
The Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers has been seeking an increase of more than 23 per cent over four years in order to bring salaries in line with those at Canadian universities of comparable size.
The university was offering a 9.5 per cent increase over the same period.
But after two days of talks with a provincially-appointed mediator, they have reached a tentative agreement on "the key issues related to wages," according to the AUNBT statement.
The talks have been subject to a media blackout.
The parties were ordered back to the bargaining table earlier this week by the Alward government.
Finishing the term with the least amount of disruption is a priority, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Jody Carr has said.
The University of New Brunswick's Law Students' Society had called on the provincial government to intervene in the faculty strike.
Students seeking compensation
Students have been holding protests at campuses across the province, saying they are the ones suffering the most.
It has been a long three weeks filled with uncertainty for students like UNB law student Stephanie Weir.
"In May you're graduating and then I have to write the bar in June and I'm obligated to start my articling so it was definitely stressful, don't want to think about it. But, I mean, it was a nice break," she said with a laugh.
It's not just students who will have some work to catch up on once classes resume, said Miriam Jones, president of AUNBT.
"There's going to be a lot of work to do when we go back. A lot of work to pick up the term but also a lot of work to rebuild things with our students this term and certainly some bridges to mend with the administration," she said.
Ben Whitney, president of the UNB Student Union, said students are seeking financial compensation for the classes they have missed.
"The fact of the matter is students have not been in classes the full period of time and there is a level of inconvenience that we've suffered as a result of everything, so we should be compensated for that and we're pushing for that," he said.
Few details have been released about the tentative agreement, and the university won't comment on any possible compensation for students.