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Tough budget forces Red Deer College to say ‘goodbye’ to more workers

Union calling it ‘devastating to programs and services going forward’

Red Deer College has had to grapple with a $5.3-million reduction in provincial government funding as it prepares its 2020-21 budget.

This is compounded by anticipated loss in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic from RDC’s ancillary services, the college said in a statement Monday.

Domestic and international student enrollment projections have also been modified and are having an impact on RDC’s finances.

These challenging circumstances left difficult decisions to be made, said the college, including workforce reductions that affect various programs and services.

“The past weeks have been very difficult, as we have had to temporarily layoff colleagues because of COVID-19,” said college president Peter Nunoda on Monday.

“We now have to say goodbye to additional team members as a result of necessary budget decisions for our upcoming academic year.

“I want to acknowledge the vast contributions of our colleagues who have been impacted, and I thank them for their service to RDC.”

Another 39 CUPE positions have been eliminated, according to the union. It calls the move “devastating to programs and services going forward.”

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1445 president Trina Carroll says there were once 157 people in her union delivering support services to students at the college.

Carroll says 43 were let go due to COVID-19 and Red Deer College has given no indication when or if they will return.

“Students, faculty and even the public are going to see a dramatic reduction in the quality of programs at the college,” said Carroll.

“I am very concerned as to how we will be able to deliver a proper education, or even provide services.”

Earlier this month, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees members at the college were told 14 full-time workers would see their hours reduced and that three people would see their jobs abolished, according to the union.

Two more AUPE layoffs were blamed on the pandemic.

The college says its budget, which will be implemented July 1, includes operational efficiencies while ensuring the post-secondary institution is ready for future growth as Red Deer University.

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