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Teaching assistants at McGill University end strike

McGill University's campus is seen Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz) McGill University's campus is seen Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Montreal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)
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McGill University's 1,600 teaching assistants approved an agreement in principle with their employer on Thursday evening, ending a strike that began almost a month ago.

In a press release issued Friday morning, their union revealed that the new contract provides for wage increases of 15.5 per cent over four years as well as "guarantees of transparency in the allocation of teaching assistant budgets."

The hourly wage for teaching assistants, currently $33.03, will rise progressively to $38.46 from Aug. 1, 2026.

The new collective agreement will run until July 31, 2027.

According to the union, the agreement comes at a good time as it avoids "the worst of the negative impacts" that the labour dispute could have had on the end of the session on April 30.

Nearly 1,000 courses were affected by the strike, the union said.

On its Facebook page, the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) said the tentative agreement was approved by 75 per cent, but did not specify the participation rate.

McGill's teaching assistants had been on strike since March 25 after giving themselves an eight-week strike mandate, citing, among other things, the wage dispute.

Negotiations for a new collective agreement began eight months ago, according to the union.

Teaching assistants are graduate students enrolled at McGill University who assist and supervise students in their studies.

Generally speaking, they are responsible for correcting academic work, conducting seminars, handling administrative tasks, answering e-mails and meeting with students outside class hours to advise them on upcoming assignments and exams.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 19, 2024. 

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