The union representing striking faculty members at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish says its executive members are recommending the membership approve a tentative deal reached with the university administration.

The CBC's Phonse Jessome reported faculty members on the picket line broke out in cheers Thursday morning as Chris Frazer, a strike co-ordinator, relayed the message from the union executive.

The St. FX Association of University Teachers said classes will resume on Monday.

"After a marathon bargaining session yesterday, negotiators for the Association of University Teachers and university administrators have reached what they hope is a tentative agreement," the union said in a statement Thursday morning.

"The full AUT executive met this morning to carefully consider the offer and has unanimously recommended it to the membership for a ratification vote."

The tentative contract includes an eight per cent raise over four years as well as health and dental benefits for all members and more job security for lab instructors.

The deal will also see an additional week of classes added to the St. FX school year to make up for time lost during the three-week strike.

A meeting will be held Friday to explain the offer to the union members, with a ratification vote to follow immediately afterwards and into Saturday. The results are expected to be released later on Saturday.

'We just have less revenue'

Picket lines will remain in place for the remainder of the week while the union scales down its operations.

"The democratic process must be respected to ensure all members have an opportunity to vote on the agreement," Peter McInnis, the president of the St. FX Association of University Teachers, said in a statement.

"Some members who are on sabbatical or leave and those who are not in the area will also need to be given an opportunity to vote."

The 400 members of the St. FX Association of University Teachers — which include faculty, librarians, lab instructors and extension staff — have been on strike for a since Jan. 28. They've been without a contract for eight months.

Sean Riley, the president of St. Francis Xavier University, said money was the main sticking point in the contract dispute.

"We just have less revenue than we have expenditures and the big detail was the financial situation of the university," he told CBC News.

"What we have to do now is restrain our spending over the coming years to continue to have the operations of the university streamlined."