Yousra el Nemr
Fifty-five part-time security workers’ contracts have been terminated on Tuesday Sept. 20, one day following President Lisa Anderson announced concessions to students, workers, and security guards’ demands.
The university recruited these supplemental security men to board the AUC buses with passengers in order to guarantee a safe ride for students and staff members following the the unstable period after the Jan. 25 uprisings.
However, they will be receiving the rest of this month’s pay as well as next month’s including overtime, according to a notice sent by the administration. The university also agreed to assist them in searching for other jobs to ease the transition.
According to Mohamed Hassan, one of the security guards who had his part-time contract terminated, these security men did not have any contracts while being employed at AUC and were not informed of the exact period they will spend in their positions.
He added, “We came to work on Tuesday, Sept. 20 as a normal day and we were surprised when we were informed that the university is no longer in need of us.”
Most of the security men claimed that the timing of informing them with this decision was too late. Additionally, he claims that they were promised the previous day that they their contracts and their salaries were going to be improved.
Brian MacDougall, VP for Planning and Administration, stated in his message for the security men on Tuesday the Sept. 20 that because of the errors and omissions in the procedures by which seasonal workers have been hired in the past at AUC, there is considerable confusion about the status of the 74 individuals engaged on a short-term basis to provide supplemental security on AUC buses during the Spring and the Summer.
And he added, “As of today (Sept. 20), their term of service has ended because we no longer require supplemental security on AUC buses. Because they had not received written notice of length of their engagement, however, upon their release, they will receive payment for the entire month of September and we will be providing an additional payment of one month to each of these individuals. We regret the misunderstanding and, as of today, all individuals employed at AUC will have written contracts, detailing the terms of their contracts.”
Mahmoud Zouk, The Executive Director for Public Safety, said that neither he nor President Anderson knew that the supplemental security men had no contracts.
This was confirmed by MacDougall in his message whereby he stated, “This problem is not the responsibility of Mahmoud Zouk, but a general administrative problem that we are correcting.”
Although Zouk is the director of the public safety, he was unaware as to whether these security men had contracts or not.
He stated, “The Human Resources department is the one that is responsible for recruiting such security men and they did not inform us about the issue of the contracts; (it was) only miscommunication.”
According to an email sent by President Anderson to the AUC community on Sept. 22, these special cases regarding part-time employees are looking to be rectified for the future.
The email states, “We have also committed to reforming the practices that govern seasonal employment across the University and ensuring that all temporary workers receive written contracts at the start of their engagement here from now on.”
“We used to work for eight hours and take a salary of 850 L.E. per month; then in the last two months, we worked for 14 hours per day and our salary remained the same and when we asked Zouk about this, he told us that we do not work for the whole 14 hours, so we cannot get paid for all of them,” said Hassan.
Students immediately took action the same day. Some of the Student Union members then filed a case at the police station against Zouk in the name of the workers who were fired.