After almost six years of frozen wages, some Langara faculty members have had enough.
“We have faculty members who have been here for seven years and they’re still not full time,” said physics instructor Pari Ranjbary.
“They just can’t afford putting down payment for a house. It’s just impossible.”
Since March 31 instructors have been without a collective agreement, which outlines terms and conditions of employment for instructors and the college. Since then the terms of the expired agreement have been in effect.
On Nov. 23 the Langara Faculty Association will meet to discuss their bargaining priorities and most pressing issues, and from there discussion with the college will begin.
Most instructors are happy, but wage is a pressing issue
Although most instructors are content with their teaching and work environment, several expressed dissatisfaction with their wages.
“I would like a bit more aggressive stance on the union side, rather than accepting what is given, what’s offered,” said Ranjbary. With the increasingly high cost of living in Vancouver, everyone should get a minimum rate to account for inflation rate increases, she said.
Some instructors accuse the government of not being open to negotiations.
“To this point [government] has not been very forthcoming in terms of pay raises,” said geography instructor Colin Mills.
Lynn Carter, president of the LFA, was unable to comment on the issues that will be discussed on Nov. 23, but she indicated that the wage issue was no secret.
“I don’t think there’s any question . . . that wages . . . and benefits are a very big issue,” she said.
“Always a chance for job action . . . “
Although instructors haven’t had the opportunity to meet and discuss the issue yet, job action is an option if certain conditions aren’t met.
“I think there is always a chance for job action,” said Carter, who said such actions are normal when negotiations are taking place.
“It’s been a drought here. For a long time.”
The college would not disclose information about contract negotiations.
Faculty has already filled out surveys indicating areas of concern and where there’s room for improvement. The results will determine faculty’s bargaining priorities and once that happens, negotiations can begin.
Reported by Bronwyn Scott