Officials at Memorial University are eager to get back to the table to negotiate a settlement with the Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association (MUNFA). The university maintains that the salary offer they have made is fair and that the contract includes other incentives, and the overall package they are offering is an attractive one.
“We have offered MUNFA a contract that is consistent with salary increases that have been accepted by other employees at the university and in the province, like teachers, nurses, and doctors,” said Karen Hollett, director of Faculty Relations at the university. “We have also both agreed that we’ll sit down again before any labour action is initiated so I am still optimistic that a strike is not inevitable.”
Ms. Hollett said that the fall semester will start as scheduled and the university expects it to be successfully completed. In the history of university there has never been a case when a semester has not been completed successfully. This includes 2000, when MUNFA went on strike.
Ms. Hollett also notes that the MUNFA leadership has not yet conducted a strike vote and does not have a mandate from its members to go on strike. “There are a number of outstanding issues in these negotiations and money is a key one,” she said. “Our salary offer is a fair one and is consistent with what has been accepted by those professional groups that receive funding from government.”
The university’s offer to MUNFA includes a three percent increase for faculty each year for the next two years (starting September 2007). The university also offered some additional financial incentives to retain faculty.
“We remain positive that we will achieve a satisfactory settlement in due course,” Ms. Hollett said, adding that the university has a plan in place in the event of a strike.