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Cuts and layoffs coming at CNA

The province’s largest public-service union, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), is bracing for layoffs at the College of the North Atlantic (CAN), with an announcement expected on Friday.

Advanced Education and Skills Minister Gerry Byrne wouldn’t go into specifics, but confirmed changes are coming to the province’s college system, and there won’t be widespread layoffs.

“We will expand on more of that tomorrow, but I can assure not only NAPE, but more importantly, the faculty, the staff and the people that make up CNA: this exercise is about growth,” Byrne said.

In last year’s budget, the government announced a comprehensive review would be done of CNA. Byrne said that review has turned up big opportunities for savings.
“CNA found significant issues and problems within the institution. There was money being spent on advertising firms that resulted in media campaigns that never saw the light of day — $1.2 million,” he said.

“There were human resources functions which were failing employees. There were literally hundreds of grievances unresolved in the system.”

NAPE president Jerry Earle was skeptical, saying that since this year’s budget, he’s been worried about a “death by a thousand cuts” in government agencies.

“Messages on Friday afternoons are rarely good messages, especially from government,” Earle said.

“The proof will be in the pudding there tomorrow when we get to see it. But we have been given no advanced information on it.”

Byrne said the College of the North Atlantic effort should be an example for Memorial University, which is also grappling with budget issues.

“I do believe Memorial University should embrace zero-based budgeting. I do believe that Memorial University should embrace a flatter, leaner management structure. And this is an excellent (example) for them to follow,” Byrne said.
“The college and the university are not the same kinds of institutions, but there are a lot of parallels.”

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