A number of staff at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre have been informed that their hours are being scaled back, and the future of their jobs is uncertain.
The reduction in hours came in the form of a letter indicating that their hours would be cut – some from 40 hours per week to 25 hours per week and some seeing drastic cuts from 40 hours per week to eight hours per week – during the summer months “due to budget constraints”. The letter also indicated that a review of their positions would be done to determine how the workers’ jobs would look in terms of hours in September, with a decision expected in the first week of August.
The affected employees were told they would have five days to indicate if they wanted to move to another position in the union, which could bump someone else from that position.
“Where did this come from? The union wasn’t aware this was going on and is now scrambling to find out what’s happening. There was just no consultation at all and if they had tried to work together with the workers we could have looked at other options,” said one of the affected workers, who has been with the City for over two decades and doesn’t recall cuts this deep in the past.
“The uncertainty is that we don’t know if we’re going to have our regular job in September. This is a total sideswipe…All it does is make people nervous. I’m high on the list of seniority and could bump to another job, so others are wondering what this could mean for them.”
According to director of recreation and community services Rudy Kelly, the reduction in hours is something done every year, although this year it has been expanded.
“We do layoffs every summer, and at the pool we do a shutdown for three weeks to a month, which requires lay-offs for lifeguards and front desk workers. Because the Civic Centre traffic is a lot slower in the summer, we’re essentially down to kids camps, we reduce staff…This year we did reduce hours on some people we wouldn’t normally reduce hours for, like custodial staff, because we saw other opportunities to save money in the operations,” he said, noting that the intention isn’t to cut jobs in the fall.
“This was letting them know that during the summer we’ll be reviewing how we do things in terms of staffing and services. In the fall, when they come back they may not get up to the full hours that they had this fall…It was giving them a warning there may be a few hours shaved off here and there going forward.”
As well as taking issue with the cuts themselves, two employees said they felt the way it was handled was unacceptable.
“They didn’t have the courtesy of holding a meeting to say ‘we’re re-evaluating your hours’ or ‘we’re looking at cuts’. I got a letter in my mailbox on Monday saying my hours were being cut,” said another of the affected employees.
“When I asked to talk to my manager about it, I was told he wasn’t seeing anyone at the moment,” a story that was echoed by another employee.