Timms Community Centre closed on Tuesday, March 17 due to coronavirus concerns. Rec centre contract workers can’t work due to the closures. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

Layoffs at Langley Township as COVID crisis takes jobs

Full time employees have not yet been affected by the crisis

Langley Township has laid off 38 regular employees, and about 340 auxiliary, on-call, and seasonal employees are not being called in to work now or in the near future.

“We are in unprecedented times and faced with making very difficult decisions,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese. “We all hope for this pandemic to be over as quickly as possible so we can bring our employees back to work and get back to business as usual.”

Langley Township is the latest community in B.C. to slash staffing.

In the Township, critical workers in roles that keep water, sewer, and other essential services running remain on the job.

But most of the layoffs have happened in the recreation division. Rec centres across the region have been closed since mid-March.

The contract workers who are not being called in include recreation workers, attendants, cashiers, leaders, weight room attendants, and lifeguards

Many of them would have been hired or on call during the busy spring and summer seasons at pools, arenas, and other rec centres.

In partnership with CUPE, Local 403 a Workforce Adjustment Agreement was established so they receive fair notice and support, according to a Township statement.

There might be further layoffs or changes as the situation develops, the Township said.

Langley City has not yet laid off any of its permanent workers.

“We have not laid off any regular employees at this time but we are assessing the situation as the pandemic progresses along,” said Samantha Paulson, the communications officer for the City of Langley.

However, some casual employees are not getting any work assignments because of the shutdown of recreation facilities like Douglas Park and the Timm’s Centre.

Those workers include fitness instructors and recreational program leaders, among others.

Paulson said the City wasn’t able to provide exact numbers on how many people can’t get casual contracts right now.

Other communities around Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have also been letting go contracted employees, as in Abbotsford, or furloughing or laying off full time workers, as in Surrey.

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