03/19/2015 10:21 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT

UNBC strike suspended for mediation talks

The two-week faculty strike at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George has been suspended and classes are expected to resume in the near future.

The university applied for a mediator through the Labour Relations Board under a clause for a special process when two sides haven't been able to reach a first collective agreement.

The move means that strike action has to be suspended, but as of early Thursday morning  there was no date set for the resumption of classes.

"My expectation is that classes will be able to resume in the near future." Daniel Weeks, UNBC president, said in a statement on Wednesday night.

"It has become increasingly clear that the faculty association strike is having a significant impact on our students’ lives and the entire UNBC community."

Strike could resume in 20 days

Jacqueline Holler, president of the UNBC Faculty Association, confirmed today's classes would be cancelled, but that staff could report to work.

If the mediation doesn't lead to an agreement, faculty can resume strike action.

"The board appointed mediator would have 20 days to conclude a successful first agreement," Holler said, adding the decision to go on strike was "very difficult."

The faculty association, representing professors, instructors and academic librarian members, withdrew services on March 5. The group has been negotiating for an agreement since April 2012.

In February 2014 independent arbitrator Vince Ready found that many association members are paid less than faculty at similar institutions.

The association voted to certify as a union last April and voted in favour of a strike in January.