Hundreds of McGill University employees have worked without pay since August
MONTREAL -- Hundreds of teaching assistants and researchers at McGill University in Montreal have been working without pay since the beginning of August.
The university says it's a problem with yet another troublesome payroll system.
The new Workday payroll system was implemented this summer and is being used for the thousands of McGill students, who also work on campus doing research or as teaching assistants.
"As a student, we have living expenses, we have academic expenses (and) we live on the salary we get from McGill for a lot of things," said TA Hayagrish Balaji.
McGill told CTV News that it has had trouble with the new hiring process due to technical and human errors with the new system.
"Approximately 150 of these new hires are still pending in Workday with the result that pay and access to some university systems continue to be delayed," the university said in a statement. "Resolution of these cases is the team's highest priority."
The unions representing these casual workers, however, said the university should have been better prepared as problems with the software are well documented.
"Certainly I think COVID has had an impact because a majority of these employees are working from home, the administration processing these contracts are working from home, the IT is working from home, HR is working from home, so that definitely has had an impact on their turn around time," said Association of McGill University Research Employees' Sean Cory.
McGill, however, isn't offering a break on late tuition fees, which is a big concern for working students.
"There's employees falling through the cracks I think, and maybe there's a lack of a method to prioritize based on how long it's been since it's been since they've been paid," said Cory.
Nonetheless, many teaching assistants are pressing on.
"We still go ahead and try to teach students as much as we can and help them out even if we don't get paid, so kind of like a voluntary service you would say right now," said Balaji.
McGill said all available team members have been deployed to correct the problem.