03/04/2015 07:14 EST | Updated 05/04/2015 05:59 EDT

York University strike: labour minister calls for more negotiations

Ontario’s labour minister urged both sides in the York University strike to get back to the bargaining table on Wednesday to prevent a lengthy shutdown.

Minister Kevin Flynn told CBC Toronto that provincial mediators are optimistic a settlement can be reached between the university and its 3,700 teaching and research assistants, contract faculty, graduate students.

"I’m not hearing they’re entrenched at all at this point in time," Flynn said.

"Negotiations are tough … we’re hoping that if we can get cooler heads to prevail then all of these issues can be sorted out at the table."

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903, which represents the striking workers, hinted that the two sides were not that far apart on Tuesday despite the fact the university’s last offer was roundly rejected.

Striking workers, meanwhile, set up a picket line at the main gates of the Keele Campus.

The strike marks the fourth labour disruption at York since 1997. The last time the university’s teaching assistants walked off the job the university was shut down for three months.