It’s been a troubling few weeks at the CBC.
In Vancouver, 20 people have been told their jobs are gone and if they wish to remain employed, they should apply for virtually identical replacement positions. Add to that, layoffs in Toronto and the termination of sports host Chris Cuthbert.
These actions have confirmed our concerns about the Corporation’s desire for a disposable, contract workforce and its disregard for the collective agreement. It’s an aggressive approach by a company bent on absolute control.
This week, that tone was also reflected at the bargaining table. We’re disappointed to report that no progress was made.
The Corporation is now intent on changing the Performance Management/Staff Development (PMSD) system from a progressive process to a quasi-disciplinary one.
PMSD was jointly developed eight years ago by the unions and the Corporation. It was designed to ensure that employees have an opportunity to develop their careers and to share in the objectives of the Corporation. First and foremost it is an open and positive process. Unfortunately the CBC wants to link any failure to meet objectives to a process that may ultimately lead to an employee’s termination.
Right now, there is a separate review process in the collective agreement to deal with performance problems. It’s designed to be a corrective and supportive process, not a punitive one. It gives an employee up to nine months to make any corrections necessary and provides for training, mentoring etc. to ensure the employee has every opportunity to succeed. It’s a process that does not stay on an employee’s file. And in the event that the employee is unable to meet the expectations of the job, there are provisions for reassignment or layoff with the possibility of recall.
What the Corporation now proposes is a type of review process that would shorten the time to meet the job standards to six months and would keep a record on employee’s file for two years, even if the problem is fixed early on. If the standards aren’t met, you could face losing your job with no right to recall. The Corporation also wishes to link this process to Performance Management.
We are very troubled by this turn of events. In its original goals and objectives, the Corporation indicated it was seeking a “fair and simple” review process. We took significant steps to meet the Corporation’s interests in a way that would benefit everyone. The CBC responded by refusing our proposals and then increased its own demands.
It’s now an issue of trust. The existing collective agreements require your participation in PMSD. But until this issue is resolved, the future of this process is in doubt.
We are back at the table the weeks of March 7 and March 28 and have scheduled seven weeks of bargaining through April and May.
Your bargaining committee:
Arnold Amber, Toronto
Pierre Claveau, Vancouver
Brendan Elliott, Charlottetown
Percy Hatfield, Windsor
Joe Hill, Toronto
Wendy Hunt, Toronto
Gerry Jones, Regina
Barbara Saxberg, Toronto
Lee Siemon, Toronto
Chris Turner, Fredericton
Rick Warren, Vancouver
Dan Oldfield, Senior Staff Representative, CMG