QUEEN’S PARK BUREAU
Back to work legislation was introduced this afternoon to end the 81-day-long York University strike as hundreds of protesters rallied outside on the steps of Queen’s Park.
As expected, the New Democratic Party delayed proceedings by refusing to give unanimous consent to the legislation. The delay most likely means students will not be in the classroom until early next week.
The act to resolve the labour dispute between York and the Canadian Union of Public Employees was read in the legislature shortly after 1 p.m. by MPP Peter Fonseca.
The move was met by both clapping and booing.
Every Liberal and Conservative, 65 MPPs, voted for the legislation. All eight present New Democratic members opposed it.
“This is truly a regrettable move,” said NDP MPP Peter Kormos of the back-to-work bill.
“Where is the fairness when senior university administrators make $500,000 in salary and benefits?”
York University is in the driver seat here, said NDP leader Howard Hampton. “Frankly – I think the students deserve a rebate on their fees.”
York needs to go back to the bargaining table, he said, so students can go back tomorrow. “It is wrong for us to legislate workers back to work.”
Outside the Legislature, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory called on Hampton to end the NDP opposition to the bill immediately so students could get back to school.
“I only hope, now that he has delayed things one day, he decides tomorrow will be enough,” Tory said.
Tory said he does not oppose some sort of compensation for lost fees. “I think the government should think about providing some help to these students because this is not any fault of theirs.”