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Ontario To Help College Students
14 November 2017, 02:08 | Erica Roy
Ontario To Help College Students
A strike by faculty members at Ontario colleges drags on with both sides accusing each other of spreading misinformation ahead of a contract vote in the labour dispute.
Half a million students across the province have been in limbo since the strike began October 16.
However, that is contingent on a faculty vote this week on the College Employer Council's final offer.
The council representing the 24 colleges says if the contract offer is accepted, students could be back in the classroom as early as next Tuesday.
During the College Employer Council webcast, Del Missier assured teachers that the contract offer which OPSEU unanimously recommended against supporting "contains all of the items that we and the union team agreed upon".
The colleges said the offer includes a 7.75 per cent salary increase over four years, improved benefits - including extended pregnancy and parental leave, and a $500 increase in coverage for paramedical services - and measures to address concerns regarding part-time faculty.
While faculty members picket at the Loyalist College entrance on Wallbridge-Loyalist Road in Belleville, the college's student government has been organizing daily get-togethers as a way to boost student morale.
"We're a body of 1,000 students", Eckenswiler says.
Centennial College student Lovey Reid told CP24 last week that the strike has been "very stressful" for students.
Del Messier, meanwhile, said the offer "enshrines academic freedom", which she called the only key issue still outstanding. "The best way for the colleges to reach a collective agreement is to negotiate, not to force a vote on an offer that has already been rejected by the faculty bargaining team".
"It's about time. Now that they're going to put it in a vote, it gives you hope that it might actually end", he said.
Because of this strike, Mohawk students will only have one week of Christmas holidays. She says a number of faculty at the Owen Sound campus were also supportive.
Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews has said the government wants to see students return to the classroom as quickly as possible.
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