Possible strike for Laval University professors

On January 20, at the extraordinary General Assembly, members of the Union of Professors and Professors of Laval University (SPUL) voted for a strike mandate, taking into account the negotiations with the University. With more than half of the membership in attendance, the strike mandate won the support of 96% of attendees, a historic endorsement. If negotiations are not concluded, the strike will continue from February 20, 2023 to March 3, 2023 inclusive.

By Jade Talbot, Head of News Desk

On May 31, 2020, the collective agreement between SPUL and its employer, Université Laval, ended. Negotiations on contract renewal have been postponed in the context of the health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By mutual agreement, the parties have extended the term of the collective agreement until December 1, 2022. Negotiations on its renewal began in September 2022. As of today, eight meetings have been held without reaching an agreement between the parties.

Negotiation difficulties

Surveys from SPUL are presented according to four global issues, namely workload, salary, academic freedom and job security. Workload includes improving employment levels, equitable distribution of duties, work-life balance, increased administrative support and better comparison of workloads. For example, the union is demanding a 100-person increase in employment levels, lamenting the lack of staff to handle the workload of a growing student population. Indeed, over the years, the gap between the number of students and the number of professors has widened, from 26,120 to 1,530 in 1998 and 1,374 to 32,950 in 2019, according to the SPUL talks website.

In relation to salaries, the union is demanding a significant increase in salary scales, increased funding for group insurance plans, improvements to the academic activities support fund (FSAA) and relaxation of the rules governing FSAA and years. education and research. On the SPUL negotiations website, there is a request to increase salary scales, “return salaries to the level of comparable universities and adjust them for inflation.”

Unity at the level of academic freedom requires strengthening mechanisms for protecting academic freedom, ensuring the role of professors in the collegial management of the university, and increasing transparency in awarding individual awards.

Finally, with regard to job security, the union asks for the normalization of the status of teachers on conditional contracts, support and accompaniment for non-permanent teachers, protection of teachers in precarious situations and support for teachers with health problems. The website of the SPUL negotiations first states that “colleagues of a certain category are those who are employed “on the basis of a grant” or those who are not yet provided with permanent employment, as well as those who are the subject of complaints or have health problems. they are particularly vulnerable and exposed to the consequences of the uncertainty of their situation”.

What if it’s a holiday?

On January 20th, students received an email from the University regarding the impact the SPUL strike would have on the activities offered:

  • “Only activities offered by members of this union (SPUL) will be affected by the strike action, regardless of the modality of the offer (face-to-face, hybrid, remote). In addition, special activities for master’s education under the responsibility of SPUL members will also be affected (eg dissertation defense, etc.).
  • All activities offered by other members of the teaching staff (professor administrators and professor administrators, teachers or lecturers). [SCCCUL]educates clinicians [AMCEL]teaching clinician dentists [ADCEFMDUL]clinical professors, teaching assistants, practical training managers) will continue to be provided.
  • A list of targeted courses will then be sent to you via monPortail, which will be the preferred channel of the Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Student Affairs (VREAE) to keep you informed of developments in the situation.
  • Faculties will be able to contact you directly to share information about their courses. »

Therefore, we will have to wait for the next few weeks to find out if there will be a strike for Laval University professors. Other meetings between the parties are planned between now and February 20 to reach an agreement within the framework of the renewal of the collective agreement.

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