Beefs remain despite a positive outlook for Thompson Rivers University's support staff union contract negotiations.
According to a union press release issued Tuesday, CUPE 4879 and its employer reached a tentative four-year deal offering zero wage increases for the first two years and two-per-cent increases in each of the final two years.
The agreement covers over 600 union members working as system TRU analysts, accountants, cashiers, bookstore clerks and buyers, registration and admissions clerks, maintenance and utility staff, library technicians, ancillary staff and Open Learning support staff.
The union members are expected to ratify the deal early next week, said CUPE 4879 president Lois Rugg.
But it's not exactly a joyful victory for workers, who launched job action on the TRU campus three weeks ago to pressure the university for "serious proposals" and a "mandate to sign an agreement."
The staff will not get relief on the cost of parking, which was doubled to $600 a year in September. And requests for safety equipment such as work boots also went by the way side.
That's because negotiations were frustrated by provincial government interference, said Rugg.
"The smallest items that included any monetary element had to be sent to the government for approval and then we would have to sit and wait and wait and wait for a reply from them," she said.
"Even things such as granting bereavement leave for the death of a grandchild was denied because it was considered a monetary item by PSEC (the government's Post Secondary Education Council)."
Although the contract deal extends to April 2014, CUPE 4879 intends to address the negotiation process itself as early as next year so the local can have more of a say, said Rugg.
"We will be looking for whoever is in power to respect our collective bargaining process."
However, contract ratification doesn't mean that worker frustration will be ignored over the next four years, said TRU spokesperson Christopher Seguin.
"We always have ongoing conversations with our stakeholders on issues that are important to them," said Seguin. "But this agreement summarizes the core of those issues."
Meanwhile, the TRU campus is now expected to settle back into normal activities.
"We're extremely happy we (are approaching a deal) without interrupting our student experience," said Seguin.