The union representing about 600 support workers at Thompson Rivers University has voted 83 per cent in favour of strike action, but what they really want is for negotiations to resume.
Lois Rugg, president of CUPE 4879, said Friday 68 per cent of members voted in the ballot.
“We’re anxious to get back to the table,” she said.
The workers’ contract expired in 2010. Since then, the union and TRU management have met about a dozen times, but there has been no new deal and no wage increases because of the province’s zero-per-cent mandate.
The union wants a cost of living boost to make up for that gap.
“We want an increase to make up four per cent lost in the last two years” and a fair increase for the coming years, she said.
Contract talks stalled last October, but Rugg hoped the strike vote would jump start them again.
“We’re asking for a reasonable and fair wage increase,” she said. Job security is also high on the contract-talk list, especially with there being talk the province might centralize and streamline some administrative duties.
Rugg said some full-time job vacancies aren’t being filled and a lot of part-time work is making workers feel insecure about their employment.
She was optimistic the employer will return to talks, as there was a response when the union announced it was holding a strike vote. Now that the ballots are counted, she feels the union’s going back to bargaining in a good position.