The City of Red Deer has issued “temporary work interruption notices” for about 150 employees, as part of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facility closures and reprioritized work means some programs and services are not currently being delivered in Red Deer, making it necessary for the city to temporarily reduce its workforce, a press release said Friday evening.
“This is a difficult decision, but right now our business looks different than it ever has before, and this action is necessary as we navigate the days ahead and plan for a time when we can once again, deliver the many municipal programs and services our citizens want and need,” said Allan Seabrooke, city manager.
“We have a fiduciary responsibility to examine our services and staffing levels to ensure a strong financial future.”
As part of this work interruption, employees are being provided a variety of options as agreed to by their various unions, as applicable.
“Our municipal employees truly are the backbone of this organization. They serve our citizens with pride in service to our community, and we know that any work interruption may have significant impacts on the lives of our employees at a time when the uncertainty of COVID-19 leaves us all feeling vulnerable and anxious about what the future holds,” said Seabrooke.
Additionally, approximately 165 casual employees were laid off in March with the closure of recreation and culture facilities in Red Deer.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing wide scale employment impacts across our community as a result of the pandemic,” said Mayor Tara Veer.
“The city continues to perform necessary and essential services to our citizens, but many other areas of our business look different than even a few weeks ago and has necessitated this temporary work interruption in the wake of our current financial reality. We look forward to welcoming back affected employees and resuming operations and community life when it is safe and possible to do so.”
The City of Red Deer worked with affected unions as part of the temporary work interruption process. This includes the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Amalgamated Transit Union.