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(Sydney) – The union representing administrative and support staff at Cape Breton University (CBU) says recently announced layoffs at the university are unwarranted and it plans to fight them.

CUPE Local 3131 says university managers have jumped the gun on these staffing cuts.  The union says to lay people off now based on a possible drop in enrolment over the next three years is premature, to say the least.

Local 3131 President Bruno McInnis says, “They have targeted frontline staff that provide direct services to students, while completely avoiding cuts to the ranks of management.  CUPE believes CBU has an unusually high compliment of managers, and that needs to be looked at.”

CUPE says when you look at how the layoffs have been handed out, the CUPE bargaining unit which makes up about 22% of the total workforce has been asked to absorb 48% of the layoffs.  What makes this particularly hard to understand is that CUPE positions only account for 10% of total salaries at CBU.

Says McInnis, “With four Vice-Presidents, several deans, and at least one department that has eight managers for a staff of 12 our members are having a hard time swallowing this administration’s hard luck story.

In addition, our members have been given an early retirement package to consider but told they have until May 16 to make a decision that could affect the rest of their lives.  We think this is too short a timeframe to expect people to make such a critical decision,” he says.

McInnis says the local met with a Communications Representative from CUPE National this week and will be launching a public information campaign aimed at shedding some light on the top-heavy structure at CBU, and trying to convince the Board of Governors that the layoffs are ill-conceived.

For information: 

Bruno McInnis                        John McCracken
President, Local 3131             CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 578-6641 (c)                (902) 455-4180 (o)