ST. JOHN’S - Local 1560 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has been informed by the Eastern School Board that 13 different schools under their jurisdiction will have secretarial hours reduced by a total of 105 hours per week.
CUPE National Representative Brian Farewell says he was advised by the employer that the move was prompted by budget reductions from the Department of Education.
“These reductions were initiated by the Board,” says Farewell, “without any consultation with the union and, in our opinion, without exploring other cost saving measures that would not affect the students and administration of our schools.
“I can confidently say that this decision is not one that would be approved or sanctioned by the school administrators. The principals, vice-principals and especially the parents of the students are very cognizant of the vital role the school secretaries play in the education sector. One of these secretaries has been reduced from seven to six hours of work per day after 32 years of service with this employer,” he says.
Says Farewell, “If in fact the Dunderdale Government’s cost-cutting measures have now extended into the educational sector, then the Eastern School District needs to look beyond its frontline workers and focus on savings within its own bureaucracy.”
Local 1560 President Derrick Barrett was just as frustrated and disillusioned with the news of the cutbacks. “The secretaries in our schools”, says Barrett,” are the constant factor in the buildings that are relied on by the administrators and parents for the efficient running of our schools and the safety of the students.
“Ironically, this news was released prior to another bargaining date with the employer where the parties were to be discussing improvements to the hours of work clause. The board needs to revisit this decision because these reduced hours will not only negatively affect the 13 noted schools but possibly many others as a result of bumping procedures,” explains Barrett. The predictable confusion associated with school openings in September will be greatly compounded if a large number of our secretaries have moved as a result of being bumped from their incumbent school.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE Communications Representative