June 8, 2018
SGEU joins a host of others in calling on Sask Polytech to reconsider the sudden termination of its long-standing athletics program and closure of all but one of its recreation departments. The recreation closure resulted in seven jobs being terminated, including one belonging to an SGEU member.
Staff and students at Sask Polytech are still reeling from last week’s announcement.
“This move hurts the entire Sask Polytech community,” said Bonnie Bond, chair of SGEU’s Professional Services Bargaining Unit, which represents non-academic staff at Sask Polytech. “And it was done without consultation and no advance warning to anyone impacted by the announcement.”
“Our recreation programming was popular and the fitness centres and weight rooms were well used by students and staff,” Bond added. “It makes no sense that Sask Polytech spent money this spring on a new fitness centre at the Prince Albert Campus and locked the doors on it a month later.”
A spokesperson for Sask Polytech has indicated a wellness strategy will be developed to fill the void created by this move. However, no timeline has been confirmed and there has been no indication of the process or structure that will be followed to develop such a strategy. This announcement comes on the heels of the recent reduction of nursing staff at the Moose Jaw and Prince Albert Campuses.
“Sask Polytech’s statement that they are changing their fitness model to focus on a new ‘Wellness Strategy,’ while at the same time laying off the nurses whose on-campus presence was a core part of student wellness, is a clear demonstration of the lack of forethought that went into this decision,” said Bond. “Rather, this appears to be a desperate and short-sighted attempt to save money on the backs of students and staff.”
Sask Polytech’s funding was cut by 5 per cent last year. Meanwhile, between 2010 and 2017, the number of Professional Services jobs fell by 9 per cent. SGEU calls on Saskatchewan Polytechnic to reconsider shutting down recreation. Over that same period, out-of-scope management jobs increased by a staggering 41.7 per cent. Sask Polytech underwent a wave of other in-scope job cuts just last month with no noticeable reductions in management staff.
“Sask Party government cuts to education continue to hurt our students trying to gain skills and find successful employment so they can contribute to our economy,” said Bond.
The athletics program and recreation department were well-established fixtures at Sask Polytech, providing recreational sporting opportunities for students and a variety of fitness classes and activities to support the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of those who work and study at the four campuses across the province. “Cuts to programs and staff ultimately have a negative impact on students who rely on these services and supports while striving for academic success,” said Bond.
For more information contact:
Bargaining Chair, Professional Services Bargaining Unit