News  News Brief: UQÀM professors strike

Nearly 1,000 professors from l’Université de Québec À Montréal (UQÀM) voted on whether to strike next week – with 76 per cent in favour, after being left without a contract since May 2007. This follows four one-day strikes by the professors, organized during February and March.

Class schedules, however, will likely not be affected by the strike – as they were not by the walk-outs – because many are taught by lecturers, who are part of a different union.

The professors claim that the student-teacher ratio and their average salaries are well below the provincial average. They are asking the administration to hire 300 new professors and raise salaries 11.6 per cent over the next three years.

According to figures released by Statistics Canada on Monday, the average salary of a professor at UQÀM is $90,000 a year, which is $14,000 less than at McGill and Université de Montréal, but $6,000 more than at Concordia.

UQÀM says its massive debt – brought on by two badly-planned expansion projects that incurred overruns so large that the provincial government had to step in – has kept them from making an offer. As a stipulation of their $465-million bailout, the government required they carry out a study comparing their salaries to those of provincial professors. The study will be completed in a few weeks, after which an offer can be expected.

— Nicholas Smith