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Gill Deacon Show employees get settlement for unpaid work

The Canadian Media Guild has reached a settlement with the CBC on behalf of employees who worked on CBC-TV’s Gill Deacon Show last season. The union found out midway through the season that employees working on the daily show had been told they were self-assigned and, as a result, were not paid for the full number of hours they worked. The employees were also denied extra pay for working the Easter Monday holiday.

The settlement, the details of which cannot be disclosed, was reached after a day of testimony from the Guild’s first witness before arbitrator Gerald Charney.The witness explained in detail about why the daily requirements of the show did not give her flexibility to arrange her hours, her days of work and her days off, something that is necessary for employees to be truly self-assigning under the CMG-CBC collective agreement.

She also explained that she and her colleagues routinely put in overtime to get the show on the air but were told, as self-assigning employees, they were not to report their hours of work to HR. As a result, they were paid nothing for the hours they worked beyond the regular workweek. The witness testified that she worked an average of 47.5 hours per week and got paid for only 38.75 hours. She was denied both straight pay and the overtime premium for those extra hours.

“These vulnerable employees, most of whom were working on contract without the security of a permanent job, were forced to provide free work to the CBC,” says CMG staff representative Glenn Gray.

“We don’t want this to become a standard for how television gets made at CBC,” adds Gray. “The only way we can stop such exploitation is for employees to speak up and contact the union at the time abuses like this happen. We should all be grateful to those who came forward to fight this injustice in this case.”

If you have any doubts about your working conditions, including your pay, how you were hired and how you are assigned, contact a Guild representative in your location or get in touch with the national office (info@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149. Click here for tips for new employees.

Note: the grievances have been “resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties without prejudice” and the resolution “does not constitute a precedent in any other matter or proceeding.”

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