The Facilities Management Division is the latest department to be put through budget cuts at the University of Saskatchewan. From June 25-27, FMD was forced to lay off dozens of employees.
Although the number of jobs lost has yet to be finalized, the most recent round of layoffs brings the total to around 200, according to Associate Vice-President of Human Resources Barb Daigle.
FMD is one of the largest departments at the U of S and employs staff ranging from skilled tradespeople to office professionals. As a whole, FMD is responsible for the physical maintenance and management of the U of S campus.
The recent layoffs to FMD are part of a broader, campus-wide workforce planning program aimed at reducing the size of the university staff. This program is separate from TransformUS, which looks only at programs and services rather than staff as a whole.
Daigle said that no further job cuts will be made to FMD as a direct result of the workforce planning program.
Reductions to the campus workforce are being made in accordance with the projected 2015-16 budget deficit of $44.5 million.
In light of the budget cuts, FMD is now looking to establish itself as a smaller, more streamlined department. FMD issued a customer service survey to all university departments to help determine which areas needed improvement. Additional feedback was collected during a town hall meeting on July 11.
The new FMD will focus on customer service, Daigle said.
To facilitate this, FMD plans to move to a new service delivery model that will divide the university campus into zones with specific maintenance workers assigned to each of them. Currently, FMD receives work requests from departments centrally and then assigns workers to situations as they arise.
“If there’s a building and something needs to be done, [maintenance workers] will do it rather than having the unit call in and make a work order request,” Daigle said.
“The whole idea is to improve customer service and get work done in a more process efficient way.”
Daigle hopes that the new system will not only expand the role of skilled tradespeople on campus, but will also give them more responsibility.
Finalized numbers on the job losses to FMD are expected to be released at the end of July.
Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor