After carefully considering available options, the Comox Valley Regional District made the difficult decision March 19 to issue layoff notices to United Steelworker Union staff who work at the Comox Valley Sports and Comox Valley Aquatic Centres.
“Following the recent announcement this week regarding the closures of our sports and aquatic centres due to COVID-19 concerns, we had to make a difficult decision to layoff staff given the length of time these closures may be required for,” said Russell Dyson, the CVRD’s Chief Administrative Officer.
A total of 62 staffers, some are part-time and some full-time, received layoff notices.
The affected employees include custodians, recreation facility attendants, customer service representatives, and lifeguard/instructors. Positions not affected include the USW facility maintenance workers. The CVRD is pushing up its scheduled maintenance shutdowns for both facilities to help minimize future shutdowns when full operations are running again.
Layoff notices will be effective Sunday, March 22. The CVRD agrees to pay equivalent wages for the next 30 days as per the collective agreement. The benefits of this approach are:
•It allows time to adjust and prepare for Employment Insurance;
•It allows time for any new initiatives that may be announced by the province or federal government to assist in this uncharted territory;
•CVRD will continue to pay both employer and employee portion of extended benefits for all full-time employees.
“Our goal is to ensure our staff who have served our community over the years will still have access to benefits to sustain their families’ healthy living during this difficult period,” Dyson said. “We look forward to opening our centres in the future with our dedicated staff, and bringing the community back together to enjoy playing sports, learning life skills and promoting healthy living.”