News / Ottawa

Algonquin instructor says government can do more to end strike

Wynne says both sides should get back to the table.

College faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College, earlier this month. The strike is now in it's third week.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

College faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College, earlier this month. The strike is now in it's third week.

An instructor walking the picket line at Algonquin College said the government is going to have to turn up the heat to bring both sides back to the table and end the strike, now in it’s third week.

Shawn Pentecost, an Algonquin College professor of English and Social Sciences, said comments from Premier Kathleen Wynne, who said on Monday that she wanted both sides back at the table, are encouraging, but the government could still turn up the pressure.

“I don’t believe the government is doing everything in their power to get back to the table.”

The strike affects students at 24 colleges across Ontario. Wynne said Monday that she wants the two sides to start talking again and didn’t rule out back-to-work legislation

“We really do not want students to lose their term,” Wynne said. “And you know my expectation, and the minister’s expectation, is that both sides of this negotiation will find a way to get back to the table to re-engage because that’s where the agreement has to be forged.”

Minister of Advanced Eduction Deb Matthews said the government doesn’t want to introduce legislation if it can be avoided.

“Those two parties can find the solution,” she said. “I know there is a solution; I know they can find it, and I am, in the strongest possible terms, asking that they get back to the table.”

The union and the colleges are largely in agreement on proposed salary increases, but the major sticking point is a union proposal for a set ratio between full-time faculty and part-time instructors.

The union wants 50 per cent of jobs to be given to full-time faculty, but colleges have so far been unwilling to commit to any ratio.

Pentecost said the province can help with that by agreeing to more funds for colleges.

“They are the major funder of colleges, so they need to take action.”

He said the government is not fully funding education in Ontario and they can do something about it if they want.  

“We’re the lowest funded college system in Canada, so increased funding is something that is definitely needed.”

- with files from the Toronto Star.

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