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A cynical waste of taxpayers’ money

Seven weeks ago CBC management locked out 5,500 employees because they refused to have a new staffing regime imposed on them. The offer yesterday, accompanied by more than $250,000 in misleading newsaper ads, is an attempt to fool the Canadian public and is worse than the offer rejected almost two months ago.

“The offer means that literally every future employee could be hired on a non-permanent basis,” said chief negotiator Dan Oldfield. “This is out of line with Canadian workplace values, and far worse that what you find among private-sector broadcasters. It’s clear CBC management is not anxious to end this crisis.”

Under the proposal, the number of individual contract employees would jump from 180 today to almost 500 by the end of the collective agreement. But that’s not all. Under the freelance provisions of the proposed offer there would be no limitations on the hiring of so-called “fixed-term contract” workers. There is no commitment to ensuring that the future hiring model will be based on a permanent workforce, only a weak assurance that existing employees will not have to switch to contract status.

The advertisement suggests an improvement in layoff and recall rights. This is a pure lie. The management proposal actually reduces rights for virtually every employee. It takes away access to jobs in different regions for about 2,500 members and reduces recall rights.

The details of the offer were made available to the papers long before they were tabled to the union. That action, coupled with the inadequate offer of settlement tabled today, makes it clear the Corporation had no intentions of seriously bargaining this past week. The ads are little more than a cynical stunt designed to deflect public and government pressure. The time for assuring Canadians is after an agreement is reached.

The Canadian Media Guild has committed to the Minister of Labour that we will remain at the table and do what we can to reach a fair deal. That doesn’t mean we intend to yield to the unnecessary and unreasonable demands being made by CBC management, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they spend on advertising and propaganda.

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