55-day strike finally ends

May 23, 1997

York University students were hurriedly sent back to finish their last week of classes less than 24 hours after their professors voted to end the longest strike in Canadian university history, writes Philip Fine.

Last week, the 1,050 members of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA), who had been on the picket line since March 20, voted overwhelmingly in favour of returning to work.

The impasse was solved without the binding arbitration the administration had initially rejected. A mediator recommended terms of settlement to both sides, who in turn accepted, signed and agreed to recommend for ratification. The faculty's main sticking point, retirement at 70 rather than 65, was partially met by a scheme that will pay two-thirds salary to those professors with more than a $Can40,000 (Pounds 19,000) pension.

"People were dissatisfied but they wanted to get back to work," said YUFA president David Clipsham after his membership voted 75 per cent in favour of returning to work. They also approved expressing their "lack of confidence in the current York University administration".

York's president, Susan Mann, said: "The administration hopes that in the interests of students and scholarship that goodwill can prevail to end the division and acrimony that is inevitable in a 55-day-old strike."

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