The letter to AUPE President Guy Smith stated that as soon as the employment security agreement expired, the government would use „all available options“ under the collective agreement to support the government`s plan to balance the budget by 2022-23. The university is expected to achieve savings of $34 million over the next three years, including $28 million in the first year. To reach the $34 million goal, 300 of the university`s 750 full-time employees would have to be laid off, she said. Armstrong also points out that AUFA is at the end of the current collective agreement with the other two AUPE and CUPE unions, which represent high-level employees of the university, and wonders to what extent these upcoming negotiations are related to funding cuts. ATHABASCA – A spending reduction target given by the provincial government to the administration of Athabasca University could, according to the university`s faculties association, see hundreds of workers laid off in the near future. „What they want to implement is very worrying. How does a university the size of Athabasca achieve these goals? Our main concern is that these goals will influence our members to the extent that there will be layoffs,“ said Jolene Armstrong, President of the Athabasca University Faculty Association. I don`t see many options. That is a huge amount of money, and the easiest way to translate is through layoffs that would result in a 40% reduction in university enrolment, which would make the university fundamentally dysfunctional. Many collective agreements that were to be withdrawn earlier this year were delayed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. In addition, the university is reportedly about to pay severance pay, which would likely increase tens of millions of euros.
This, in turn, would have a negative impact on the program tax, which would inevitably have an impact on the university`s reputation and reduce enrollment and revenue, Armstrong said. In this regard, Athabasca University has not been characterized as post-secondary institutions across the province, many of which have been asked to reduce spending, many of which have followed the path of firing hundreds of employees in response to new financial realities. And while the university`s president, Neil Fassina, said that options other than layoffs to cut costs were being considered, the faculties association is skeptical.