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Talks between U of M faculty, administration break down

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Foreign students, paying much more than Canadian students, are the most fearful of a U of M strike.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Foreign students, paying much more than Canadian students, are the most fearful of a U of M strike. Photo Store

Conciliation talks between the University of Manitoba and its professors broke down Friday, the faculty association said in a release.

"Conciliation talks between UMFA and the administration have reached an impasse," the release from UMFA said.

"Outstanding issues include academic freedom, collegial governance, and the ability of faculty to perform their research without interference from university bureaucrats.

Conciliation began Wednesday and had been scheduled to continue through the weekend.

The minister of labour has appointed a mediator, Michael Werier, UMFA said. The faculty association has set Tuesday as a strike date, though it has not yet made an official announcement. UMFA members voted 68 per cent last week in favour of going on strike.

The U of M has set up a website to keep students informed at www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo.

"The administration continues to refuse to add language to the Collective Agreement that would protect the rights of faculty members to speak about the administration and to exercise their civil rights as individuals, including their right to contribute to social change through free expression of opinion on matters of public interest, without fear of reprisal.

A statement from U of M president David Barnard, released Thursday, stated: "I want to be clear that we have not put forward anything in this bargaining process that would erode the academic freedom enjoyed by our faculty. We have not proposed a performance-management system for UMFA members. Nor have we introduced any restrictions on research for UMFA members."

The U of M has offered a four-year raise of 2.9 per cent the first year and two per cent each of the following three years, which compounds to 9.2 per cent.

UMFA has countered with a two-year proposal of 2.9 per cent each year, which compounds to 5.9 per cent.

UMFA went on strike in 1995 and 2001 and came within hours of striking on several other occasions.

History

Updated on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 7:01 PM CDT: Adds missing quotation mark.

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