“Let’s get back to mediation, so staff and students can get back into the classroom,” - SGEU/NUPGE President Bob Bymoen.
Regina (9 Sept. 2011) - The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE) has announced a proposal that could have Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) students back in the classroom as soon as possible.
“Although mediator Tom Hodges is not available today or Friday, we have arranged to meet with him this Saturday and Sunday to try to work out an agreement,” said Bob Bymoen, President of SGEU/NUPGE.
“If SIAST agrees we will be in mediation for the weekend.”
“We hope this mediation process will help us reach a negotiated settlement with SIAST,” said Bymoen. SIAST management has continued to throw up roadblocks and create artificial barriers to avoid talking about the real issues that are plaguing SIAST.”
Hodges has told SGEU/NUPGE that he can write a mediation report by Tuesday of next week if the parties actually meet and bargain on Saturday and Sunday.
“If the mediator is able to give us highlights of his report, and if it is satisfactory, we can have students back in the classroom on Monday,” said Bymoen.
“Before meeting on the weekend we are asking SIAST to give us the comparison of SIAST Professional Services wages with wages of similar professionals in Western Canada,” said Tracey Kurtenbach, chair of SGEU/NUPGE's Professional Services Negotiating Committee.
“We have asked to see this comparison from SIAST and would like to have it by Friday so we can review it prior to mediation on the weekend. This data is key to coming to an agreement on a fair wage settlement.”
“To management’s position that they will not mediate while we have a strike line up – we say, all of our previous mediation attempts failed because management refused to take our concerns seriously. We held off on job action for as long as we could. This is the situation we find ourselves in now, and we need to get back to mediation to resolve it,” according to Bymoen.
“Striking is part of the collective bargaining process. There is no legitimate reason to refuse to negotiate or mediate while job action is taking place. It happens all the time. That’s how many disputes are ultimately resolved," he added.
“I urge Bob McCulloch (President of SIAST) to direct the negotiators to come to the table and discuss the real issues. If that happens I am convinced we can reach a mediated settlement,” said Bymoen.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE