Tuesday, March 21, 2023
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Initial agreement reached amid CBU strike

One of two faculty unions at CBU went on strike on January 27, causing most classes to be cancelled. The institution has a huge international enrolment, with two-thirds of its 5,900 students coming from overseas.

Across Canada, rising prices for food and shelter have eroded purchasing power in the past two years, with inflation currently running at more than 6% annually – as a result, the Cape Breton union asked for a salary increase of 14% over two years.

Details of the final agreement have not yet been released.

“I’m happy that the faculty and the university were able to come to a relatively quick and mutually beneficial agreement”

“At CBU we want to put the students first and so I’m happy that the faculty and the university were able to come to a relatively quick and mutually beneficial agreement so we can get back to the business of education,” said Victor Tomiczek, director of international recruitment and global partnerships at CBU.

Damanpreet Singh, president of the students’ union and an international student from India, had previously urged university leaders and faculty to come together to “hammer out a deal.”

In addition, more than 800 faculty at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador have been on strike since January 30 for higher pay – there are around 3,400 international students at the school, making up around 18% of enrolment.

Faculty at St. Mary’s University in Halifax also voted overwhelmingly to strike after failing to reach an agreement with management. About one third of its 6,800 students are from overseas.

Recently, the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers stoked the fire of faculty unrest by issuing a report called A Culture of Entitlement – the study argued that the number of administrators at the province’s universities had risen dramatically, sending costs soaring.

In addition, it said salaries of university presidents were up 45% in the past six years.

However, the report’s math and methodology came under fire from HESA consultant and blogger Alex Usher, who said, “There’s no smoking gun here, folks – just another stakeholder group with an axe to grind.”

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