Four part-time employees to continue to provide services
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) is laying off most of its part-time staff in the seven equity service centres this week.
Affected staff were notified by email that they would be paid for hours up until this Friday. The reason given was the continued closure of the RSU’s frontline services and the Student Campus Centre (SCC) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ryerson’s Career Boost program ending on April 3, 2020.
The email said with the Career Boost program ending, the decision has been made to lay off both Career Boost Staff and all other RSU paid part-time employees as well. Links to employment insurance benefits and COVID-19 financial support programs were included at the bottom of the email.
“The RSU has tried to keep our part-time staff as long as possible, and greatly appreciates all of the hard work and dedication that was put into our organization during these uncertain times.”
Four part-time staff working in the equity centres were retained, to “ensure” that the RSU can properly serve Ryerson’s student population.
In an emailed statement to the Ryersonian, Reanna Maharaj, the executive director of the RSU, said the part-time staff who were chosen to remain were either not on the Career Boost program or had seniority in their departments and were chosen to fulfil the duration of their contracts.
One staff member who was let go, told the Ryersonian their contract was until May 1. They were not paid through Career Boost and neither was a second laid off staff member who spoke to the Ryersonian.
According to Maharaj, the RSU has continued to pay part-time staff the maximum amount of hours in their contracts since the SCC closed on March 13. “With the Career Boost program ending the RSU cannot continue to move all of our staff to the RSU payroll.”
She said the union looked into “every option to cover staff wages,” including the federal government’s new 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses affected by COVID-19, but that the RSU did not qualify.
Ryerson University was ordered by a judge to transfer the RSU its previously withheld student fees in early March. The union receives approximately $4.6 million in student fees each year, the collection of which has not been affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. But it is unclear if the union lost revenue in other ways because of the crisis.
This is a developing story and will be updated.