Talks on hold for the moment in MUNACA strike

Conciliator suggests a pause for both sides to reconsider their positions

By McGill Reporter Staff

Negotiations to settle the two-and-a-half-month long strike by McGill support staff who are members of the MUNACA union will take longer after the conciliator overseeing the talks suggested last Friday that both sides take a break.

Salary issues

The sticking point is salary issues.

“At the end of a long day, the conciliator advised both sides to take a break from the table for a while,” said Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), in a statement to the McGill community issued Monday. “There were significant discussions on such key issues as pensions, benefits and premiums, but the parties remain far apart on wages. At this point, no specific dates have been set for a resumption of talks.

“We have always known that these would be challenging negotiations, given the fact that the University is working under constraints, such as a $6-million budget deficit, the Quebec government’s salary policy, and the agreements negotiated with six other McGill unions.”

In an update to that message posted on the Human Resources website late yesterday, Di Grappa noted that there was nothing to add at this point.

On its website, MUNACA posted a similar message, adding: “While we have had serious discussions on other key issues such as pension, benefits and premiums, at this point those issues also remain unresolved. We have stated from the outset of these negotiations that we are committed to winning a fair agreement, one that brings us in line with other Montreal universities.”

March to MELS

Yesterday, with the support of student groups, the union staged a large march from the corner of McGill College Ave. and Sherbrooke St. to the offices of the ministry of education on Fullum St., not far from the Jacques Cartier Bridge. There, a letter was handed to an aide to Education Minister Line Beauchamp.