“This is just rubbing salt in the wound for employees.”
That’s what SGEU said Saskatchewan Polytechnic is doing to 23 laid-off frontline employees by looking to hire new managers.
Sask Polytech confirmed the layoffs, which included two professional services union employees and 21 academic union employees.
“The layoffs that were announced recently this spring are part of our regular operational review,” Terrence Carswell, associate vice-president of human resources, said.
Carswell said the operational review is done regularly to ensure Sask Polytech invests resources “where they produce maximum benefit for our two most important clients, specifically our students and industry.”
Carswell also confirmed the school listed “four out-of-scope of the union” positions on its career website.
He said the layoffs were less about finances as they were about responding to the labour market.
“The environment changes on a regular basis and we want to make sure we’re remaining current and also moving forward with the resources we need,” he said.
“Things just change. There’s different technological changes, changes in services and so forth and we need to review that based on the needs of our clients – both the students and industry – as we move forward.”
But the union sees it differently.
Bonnie Bond, chair of SGEU’s Professional Services Bargaining Unit, said Sask Polytech has been adding more bureaucracy instead of directing money to frontline services.
“The funds that are being spent to increase the size of Sask Polytech’s management team should instead be used to maintain existing staff positions and to fill the numerous positions that have been left vacant,” she said in a news release.
SGEU claims Sask Polytech has increased managerial positions rapidly over the last three years, including going from 113 to 150 in the 2015-16 academic year.
Sask Polytech maintains this is standard procedure, one that isn’t solely a cost-cutting measure.