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U de M, striking lecturers reach deal

by admin April 9, 2010

U de M, striking lecturers reach deal

By: Jacob Serebrin 8212; CUP Quebec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL (CUP) 8212; The lecturers’ strike at the Université de Montréal could be over by Monday, after negotiators reached a deal on Thursday evening.

Members of the lecturers’ union will vote on the agreement in principle on Sunday, April 11; if it is approved, students will be back in classes on Monday.

“We’re very happy,” said Sophie Langlois, director of media relations for the university. “We believe that it’s a good agreement for both parties, we’re confident that it will be accepted and we are looking forward to next week.”

About 20 per cent of classes at the university, Canada’s second-largest, have been suspended during the strike.

If the deal is accepted, the winter semester will be extended until May 9, to make up for the cancelled classes, and the start of the summer session will be delayed.

Union president Francis Lagacé, said that the union’s executive and the negotiation committee would be recommending approval of the agreement and that the decision was now in the hands of the members.

Both Lagacé and Langlois refused to comment on the details of the new agreement until it is presented to union members.

The agreement comes after Quebec’s education minister, Michelle Courchesne, urged the two sides to return to the bargaining table after union members rejected what the university described as its “final offer” on April 5.

The union’s negotiation team had recommended the rejection of that offer.

Students had called for a speedy resolution to the strike, protesting outside a ministry of education office on Tuesday, April 6.

“The only thing we want is for the conflict to end rapidly,” Nicolas Descroix, secretary general of the federation of student associations at U de M, said at the time.

The university had threatened to outright cancel lecturer-taught classes if a deal wasn’t reached by April 5, a move that was condemned by both the strikers and students, but that threat appeared to be off the table after negotiations resumed.