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Contract talks resume between Carleton University and striking education workers

Carleton University campus in Ottawa. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa) Carleton University campus in Ottawa. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)
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Carleton University and the union representing education workers returned to the bargaining table Saturday morning, as the clock continues to tick down on the winter semester.

About 3,000 graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants and contract instructors at the university began strike action on Monday, after CUPE Local 4600 and the university failed to come to an agreement.

Carleton University says the two sides have agreed to return to the bargaining table, and the parties have "mutually agreed to work with a neutral third-party mediator."

The university says further updates will be provided as the "situation evolves."

CUPE Local 4600 President Noreen Cauley-Le Fevre said on Twitter, "heading back to the table tomorrow, bright and early."

"Keep the pressure on pals, now is the time to turn up the heat. Let's get a fair deal."

CUPE Local 4600 said last weekend its members are looking for wages that will "help catch up the more than 10 per cent they have lost to inflation over the last decade", and want to bring salaries for contract instructors closer to what University of Ottawa contract instructors earn.

"Contract instructors at Carleton earn 15 per cent less than the contract instructors at the University of Ottawa, who are doing the same work, in the same city, with the same cost of living – so salary is a big thing," Cauley-Le Fevre told CTV News last Sunday.

"On campus, graduate students make up about seven per cent of the student population and we make up 80 per cent of the food bank usage. So teaching assistants, both units, have been hit by the rising cost of inflation.

"We're being hit really hard … so we need our wage increases."

Carleton University remains open and students are expected to attend classes if they are being held, but some classes, labs and tutorials may be cancelled due to the strike.

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