SASKATOON –The University of Saskatchewan is offering voluntary buyouts to its administrative staff to help cope with provincial budget cuts.
An internal memo distributed to members of the Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association on Wednesday said the university had reached an agreement with the union to offer a “voluntary exit incentive program” to employees.
The association represents 1,100 workers at the university.
Cheryl Carver, the university’s assistant vice-president of human resources, said in the memo that the president has been clear that savings will be found in attrition and voluntary options.
She added that staff salaries and benefits made up 70 per cent of the university’s budget.
Applications to accept a voluntary buyout are being accepted by the university between June 1 and June 30, and buyout recipients would leave the university by January 31, 2018.
Carver added the university is continuing to work with other unions representing workers to come to an agreement on a voluntary exit program.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach an agreement on voluntary options for our staff in CUPE 1975,” she wrote.
“CUPE executive required guarantees that we would not contract out any services as a result of exits. This type of guarantee is too restrictive at a time when the university must find savings.”
The university is trying to fill a 5.6 per cent budget gap left by the provincial budget in the spring.
Several departments have seen their funding slashed already, including an 11 per cent cut to agriculture and bioresources.
Carver said in the memo they are still in discussions with the USask Faculty Association on extending a reduced appointment program for positions opened up by retiring professors.
No one at the university was made available for comment Wednesday afternoon.
The university also said it has to close a research centre because funding was cut in the provincial budget.
It says the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development will close on June 15.
The centre’s research has focused on concerns in areas such as northern governance, First Nations and resource development, northern innovation and climate and socio-economics.
It also provided graduate-level degree programs.
University president Peter Stoicheff says the university is “deeply disheartened” by the loss of provincial government funding for the centre.