Postdoctoral fellows at Dalhousie University reject final offer and vote to strike

HALIFAX – Public Service Alliance of Canada’s local 86001, comprised of postdoctoral fellows at Dalhousie University, have rejected a final offer and voted in favour of taking strike action if an agreement that sees fair wage increases cannot be met. The current base salary for postdoctoral fellows employed by Dalhousie University is $38,500 a year, which amounts to only $18.51 per hour.

“We are undervalued, and it is clear from the strike mandate we received that our members are tired of being treated worse than other employees at Dal,” said Robyn Wright, local 86001 President. “We are hopeful that with this clear mandate from postdocs, the Dalhousie administration will return to the table ready to negotiate living wages into an agreement for workers who have dedicated years of their time and research to this community.”

In the two years since the collective agreement for postdoctoral fellows expired, Dalhousie has not offered these employees competitive wages that match other academic institutions in Canada. The university is also offering wages and benefits inferior to those negotiated with all other Dalhousie employees. While other Dalhousie employees saw annual cost of living adjustments of 8.2 per cent over 3 years plus additional market adjustments, the university administration proposed only a 2.5 per cent increase over 4 years, for postdoctoral fellows while inflation during this period soared.

“These members are the backbone of the research community in Halifax. They are brilliant and have studied for a long time to get PhDs in their respective fields. They care about the research they do; from Covid-19 research that helped Canadians during the pandemic to environmental research that will help the world in its current climate emergency,” said Chris Di Liberatore, Regional Executive Vice President for PSAC Atlantic. “Dalhousie’s postdocs deserve to make living wages that keep them here in the Atlantic.”

PSAC will immediately be contacting the university to advise them that should they not return to the bargaining table with a fair wage offer, they risk facing job action.

For more information contact:

Laura Haywood
Regional Political Communications Officer, PSAC Atlantic