Manitoba

Brandon University strike talks at impasse

Talks towards ending a faculty strike at Brandon University have completely broken off, according to the university's chief negotiator.
Members of the Brandon University Faculty Association, which represents about 240 professors, instructors, librarians and associates, walk the picket line on Tuesday. ((CBC))

Talks towards ending a faculty strike at Brandon University have completely broken off, according to the university's chief negotiator.

Grant Mitchell told CBC News late Thursday that mediator Michael Werier has declared an impasse in negotiations between administration and the Brandon University Faculty Association.

About 240 professors, instructors, librarians and professional associates at the western Manitoba university have been on strike since Oct. 12.

Werier returned to Winnipeg after the last round of talks broke off on Monday, the union said earlier this week.

Werier, who was appointed by the Manitoba government to mediate the dispute, must now prepare a report for Labour Minister Jennifer Howard.

The report is not expected to be ready until Monday at the earliest, Mitchell said.

'Dim' prospects for solution

Mitchell said the mediator's report is non-binding and the minister has limited powers in settling the dispute.

The prospects of a solution coming anytime soon are "dim," Mitchell added.

Now in its 23rd day, the current strike is the second faculty strike at Brandon University in the past three years.

A 17-day strike in the fall of 2008 led to the faculty association's last collective agreement with the university, which expired on March 31.

The major sticking points in current negotiations have been wages, benefits and research issues.

About 3,000 students have been affected by the strike.

The Brandon University Students' Union has been circulating a petition demanding a tuition refund for classes the students have had to miss as a result of the strike.

now