09/20/2013 05:30 EDT | Updated 11/20/2013 05:12 EST

Athabasca University Forces More Than 270 Staff To Take 10 Unpaid Days Off

a man with his head down on his desk

ATHABASCA, Alta. - Athabasca University says it will force more than 270 staff to take 10 unpaid days off between Oct. 15 and March 31 because of government budget cuts.

In a letter to staff, university president Frits Pannekoek says the temporary layoffs are needed to "achieve budget reduction targets."

He says the university is going through a difficult time, and there could be more layoffs.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says it will challenge the layoffs at the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

The union says the layoffs will hurt the employees and the Town of Athabasca, where the university's headquarters is located.

The union says the layoffs follow the elimination of 70 jobs at the university as the school struggles to cut $4 million from its budget.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Best Canadian Universities See Gallery