The president of Cape Breton University, David Wheeler, does not expect a strike by instructors and maintenance workers, despite those employees voting 100 percent in favour of strike action.
"It's part of the game," Wheeler said. "It's the way labour relations work in Canada. I totally respect the union's need to rally its members and show how serious they are about trying to get a better deal."
Wheeler said, however, that the university is in a tough financial position.
"This is not great timing for us in terms of generating generous deals," he said.
Wheeler said CBU must cut costs by 10 per cent. That means taking $5 million out of its $50 million budget in three to four years.
He expects a contract settlement to be reached when the two sides enter conciliation talks in early February. The instructors and maintenance workers are represented by Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union Local 18.
The main issues in dispute are hours of work, workload and wage parity with CBU counterparts represented by other unions and counterparts at other Nova Scotia universities.