The Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) has described the decision by the US-owned Ross University School of Medicine to send home more than 100 employees as “unfortunate”.
The decision comes as a result of the the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria in September.
RUSM, which was founded in 1978, has its main campus located in Portsmouth. It also has separate administrative bases in Iselin, New Jersey and Miramar, Florida in the United States.
It is owned by Adtalem Global Education Inc, formerly DeVry Education Group.
The university has started the process of laying off at least 150 employees with hundreds of its students and staff being relocated temporarily to the United States.
DPSU general secretary Thomas Letang said the union met with the employees and a redundancy package had been negotiated.
“Since we moved to Ross University there are a lot of benefits we were able to get for the members, things like pension and gratuity… which will form part of the package that they will be receiving.
“We have indicated to Ross University that as soon as they will resume operations in Dominica we would be happy if they would give priority to the employees who were displaced by that decision and we are working on that,” Letang said, adding that the workers have also raised other concerns.
Letang said that the union intends to write to the Dominica government regarding the situation at the university.
Last month, RUSM wrote to staff informing them of the situation following the hurricane that caused widespread damage in Dominica on 18 September.
“We will no longer be able to continue to employ our entire Dominican Campus as we have since Hurricane Maria,” wrote RUSM Dean Dr William F Owen Jr.
He also promised that the university would maintain what he described as a “core staff” in Dominica.