Nova Scotia

St. FX offer tabled, presented to teachers' association

St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish tabled a new contract for its striking faculty members on Tuesday afternoon.

St. FX offer could mean layoffs, says president

Sean Riley, the president of St. Francis Xavier University, says a new contract to be offered on Tuesday will result in layoffs. (CBC)

St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish tabled a new contract for its striking faculty members on Tuesday afternoon.

The offer includes a number of financial adjustments as well as a few additional offers the St. FX Association of University Teachers had said were important. The proposed agreement is for a four-year period beginning July 1.

The following are a few of the proposed contract details:

  • All members offered a total increase of 7.45 per cent over the four-year life of proposed contract, compared to initial offer of 6.9 per cent.
  • Lab instructors now guaranteed minimum contract duration of 38 weeks, initial offer was 37 weeks.
  • Lab instructors to receive a $500 salary increase.
  • Part-time instructors to receive $500 increase in stipend per 6-credit course.
  • Part-time instructors teaching more than 48-credit hours to receive 10 per cent increase in stipend; those teaching more than 84-credit hours to receive 20 per cent increase.
  • Part-time instructors also eligible for some health benefits (up to $500 per year)
  • Full-time members to receive Professional Development Allowance of $200 per year beginning in year three
  • Faculty members to receive more transparency in rank and tenure as well as more retirement options

The rest of the contract details can be viewed in the documents attached below.

The administration at St. FX warned of layoffs before presenting the new contract to its striking faculty members Tuesday.

'Result in restructuring and reduced employment'

"The university has provided the union with the latest financial picture for the university, including the current and forecast deficits resulting from reduced government funding," Sean Riley, the president of St. Francis Xavier University, said in a statement released Monday.

"Funding the new collective agreement within the financial limitations faced by the university will be difficult."

Riley went on to say the executive members of the St. FX Association of University Teachers are "aware that the financial limitations will result in restructuring and reduced employment."

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

The contract offer marked the first return to formal negotiations since the strike began.

"The university notes the AUT executive's commitment to reaching a tentative agreement and to taking it to the membership for a ratification vote this week," Riley said in his statement.

"We are hopeful that the university and the AUT executive will be able to resolve our current differences and will move on to building the future of St. FX together."

The faculty association previously rejected an offer by the university to raise salaries by 6.9 per cent after the union said it was arguing for an increase of 10 or 11 per cent over four years.

The union was also arguing for better working conditions, permanent status for teachers who are hired on contract and expanded health and dental benefits.

The St. FX Association of University Teachers would only say the university administration's previous offer was "below recent Atlantic university settlements and well below the cost of living."