Volume 95, Issue 84

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
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London declares all-out war on smokers

Brand new crusty old dean?

Police chase Beaver balcony jumper

Dalhousie strike gets nastier by the day

OPSEU strike may affect OSAP

Vote and drop out at 18

News Briefs

OPSEU strike may affect OSAP

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

A pending strike of 45,000 Ontario public service workers could mean delays for students anxiously awaiting to receive OSAP assistance.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union was expected to go on strike this morning at midnight. Last-ditch negotiations continued yesterday between OPSEU and the province.

"OSAP is not going to be shut down if there is a strike, but there will be some delays," said Bruce Skeaff, spokesman for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Skeaff said applications and status inquiries for the student assistance program will remain accessible in the event of a strike, however there may be delays processing applications and payments.

The OSAP website will remain available as a main contact point for students, he said. Out-of-province students will only be able to access OSAP services through the website.

The ministry is currently in discussions with universities in hopes of drafting a contingency plan should OPSEU strike.

"Students at institutions in Ontario should contact their own institution's financial aid office for instructions," he added.

Glen Tigert, Western's director of student financial services and student records, said the university will be in contact with the ministry regarding the impact a strike would have on students.

Tigert said if OPSEU strikes, the university will develop a plan in response and will communicate instructions to students via the registrar's website.

OPSEU workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31. Among the issues on the bargaining table is a 12 per cent wage increase proposed by OPSEU.

On Feb. 28, 88 per cent of OPSEU members voted to reject a government offer for a six per cent wage increase over two years.

In a statement released yesterday, OPSEU president Leah Casselman said the union would strike, unless the government returns to the bargaining table with dramatic changes to its most recent offer.

Otherwise, Casselman could not be reached for comment.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002