Emotions ran high at a University of Manitoba meeting on Friday, called to address the concerns of university caretakers over workloads.
"Every day that some of the caretakers come to work here, is the toughest day of their lives," Frank Wright, grievance chairman of CAW 3007, the union for the caretakers, told university officials during the meeting attended by about 100 people.
Wright said due to staff and budget cuts, caretakers are given an unrealistic amount of work for their shifts.
"They've doubled and tripled everybody's areas," said Wright. "Instead of caretakers looking after a 35,000-square-foot area, they're looking after 105,000- or 140,000-plus-square-foot area. In that amount of time, you cannot keep an area clean."
Aramark Canada Ltd. took over maintenance serves at the U of M in March, 2011.
In an email statement sent from its headquarters in Toronto, Aramark said: "We follow all terms and conditions of the union collective bargaining agreement, which includes a clear provision for how to address and resolve employee issues and concerns.
"We respect our employees' rights to express their concerns through the process outlined in that agreement and expect to be meeting with the union to discuss these issues."
During the meeting, Paul Kochan, vice-president of administration, agreed to meet with the representatives of caretakers in hopes of resolving their issues in the coming weeks.
David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the university, said they will assess the relative needs in the different areas of the university at the upcoming annual budget round.
"The university's challenge is to try to find sufficient staffing levels for all of the things that we do," said Barnard.