Message #6 to Our Members Re. COVID-19
Many of you are now aware through reports in the media that the Pallister Government has asked the Universities, along with other public-sector employers, to find ways to reduce staffing costs by as much as 30 per cent. The Government has said that this move is necessary in order to re-direct their resources towards the needs of the front-line health care workers.
While the reporting in the media is accurate, it’s important that our members are aware that public-sector employers have been asked to report on options to meet targets of 10, 20 and 30 per cent. At this point in time, we do not know which of the target amounts, if any, the Universities will be required to meet.
AESES has been working hard over the past week and weekend meeting with the Universities and other union officials, and to write to the leaders of the Universities and to Premier Pallister to express our serious concerns that any cuts will significantly affect the ability of the Universities to operate. This includes the long-term repercussions of decisions of this magnitude. Copies of these letters are available for viewing on the COVID-19 page of the AESES website at https://aeses.ca/covid-19-info-updates/.
We will continue to press on this front; however, it is always possible that the Pallister Government will have little concern for the financial effect on public-sector employees and will demand that these cuts proceed. Should this be the case, we will work with the Universities to address our members’ concerns about job security and income protection and will do what we can to ensure that the rights and benefits under the Collective Agreements are upheld where possible.
AESES also continues to investigate other ways to support our members during this stressful time. As mentioned in previous communications, we have set aside money to establish a COVID-19 Assistance Fund for those members who encounter a significant loss of income. We hope to be able to send more detailed information on this fund to our membership later this week.
These are unprecedented times and many workers across Canada are experiencing financial and social hardships as a result. As AESES members, we support the hard work of the front-line health care workers, and all those who put themselves at risk each day to serve the needs of the public. However, to expect public-sector employees to bear the burden of the financial costs of the Provincial Government is reprehensible in this time of national crisis.