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UNBC faculty end job action, salary dispute to be settled by binding arbitration

Faculty at the University of Northern British Columbia on the picket line in November, 2019. Global News

Students at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no classroom disruptions next semester.

The UNBC Faculty Association (UNBC-FA) said Tuesday that it was ending job action based on the recommendations of a special mediator appointed to its job dispute with the school.

READ MORE: UNBC faculty association suspends strike, files bad faith bargaining complaint against university

Faculty at the university, with campuses in Prince George and across B.C.’s north, walked off the job on Nov. 7, 2019, precipitating a three-week strike.

Click to play video: 'Another last-minute deal averts transit strike'
Another last-minute deal averts transit strike

They pulled pickets down in late November, but said job action would not end.

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In a statement Tuesday, the UNBC-FA said the decision to end job action was based on a recommended compromise on non-salary issues by mediator Trevor Stones.

READ MORE: B.C. to appoint mediator as UNBC faculty strike nears three weeks

Stones also recommended that the salary dispute be settled through binding arbitration.

Click to play video: 'Tentative deal averts bus strike'
Tentative deal averts bus strike

“Under this scenario, an arbitrator would order either that the employer’s salary proposal or the FA’s salary proposal be adopted,” wrote UNBC-FA’s chief negotiator Ted Binnema.

Both the school and the association have accepted the recommendation and UNBC said an arbitrator must be selected by Jan. 3, 2020, with hearings to start by Feb. 1, 2020.

READ MORE: School’s out: UNBC Faculty Association walks off the job

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“The employer thanks the special mediator for his work and looks forward to moving through this process and towards finalizing a collective agreement with the FA,” said UNBC in a statement.

The UNBC-FA serves about 500 full and part-time members including tenured and tenure-track faculty, senior lab instructors, librarians and contract academic staff.

There are about 3,500 students enrolled at UNBC.

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