Wage increases for senior U of S staff lowers morale

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June 7, 2013 - 1:47pm
University of Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy: usask.ca
University of Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy: usask.ca

A former union president at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) says he was disappointed to learn senior administrators recently received raises and bonuses.

The school is facing a $44.5 million deficit and is in the process of laying off hundreds of employees.

Before Glen Hauser was laid off, he was president of the Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association (ASPA), one of the three large unions on campus.

"Morale, unfortunately, at the university is at a very low point right now," he said during a phone interview with News Talk Radio earlier this week.

"To add insult to injury, when you find senior leadership, instead of taking their share of pay cuts (they) have actually gone and made the situation worse … it's the kind of thing that angers people," he said.

Barb Daigle, vice president of Human Resources, said $400,000 is budgeted each year for the university's 40 senior administrators to make market and merit adjustments.

"Our goal is to recruit and retain," said Daigle.

"If the market is flat and at zero, then that is what we will do also," she said.

The provost salary review committee compares salaries with seven other universities in Canada and decides on individual adjustments if salaries are falling behind.

Between 2010 and 2013, senior administrators received a one-and-a-half per cent market adjustment for cost of living.

There are one-time bonuses issued to staff that go above and beyond their duties, Daigle said these can be as high as $16,000, but it is rare for the full amount to be given.

Senior administrators can also receive merit-based raises, which are between two and six per cent, for contributing to the institution's goals.

"These amounts are conservative," Daigle said.

Hauser said he disagrees.

"In a time where the university is laying vast numbers of people off, I just think unconscionable to behave in that manner," he said.

He pointed to the University of Alberta, which he said is facing similar financial losses - senior leadership there is doing something different.

"They took five days (of) unpaid holidays per year as a way to address the budget, our institution is increasing salaries and pay," said Hauser.

Hauser said he would like to see senior staff decline pay increases this year.

awills@rawlco.com

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