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Another “contribution” sought by CP/BN for 2006

It has been a month since we reported to you on the wage re-opener for 2005. We have had two meetings since then that bear on the company’s financial performance and directly on these wage talks.

Last week, on October 18, we reviewed the third quarter results with CFO, David Ross and other senior managers prior to this weeks round of negotiations. With three quarters of the year behind us, the company continues to do better than projected at the beginning of the year.

As you know, we tabled a wage proposal in September ? 1% effective October 1 and a further 1% effective December 31, 2005. At that point, the company acknowledged the need to “do something” for staff. This week the company continued to say it recognizes the need to put more money in employees’ pockets, but has not made an offer.

Instead, for the first time in eight months, the company said it is looking for another “contribution” from employees in 2006. In other words, employees would continue to have their wages rolled back, though to what degree was not raised.

We said employees will not work for 2003 wage levels. We said employees will not return to the bad old days of no wage increases for years. We do not want once again have to struggle to catch up to employees at the newspapers whose publishers run CP/BN.

We still have not made up the ground we lost. While your pay cheques have been rolled back these same employers have granted their employees increases ranging anywhere from 2.5% to 3%.

We have not closed any doors and are willing to discuss anything that will help us reach an agreement, but we have made it clear there are some fundamental principles to which we must adhere.

1. Wage levels must increase: pay cheques must be restored to 2004 rates without the rollback; wages must increase for 2005, at a minimum along the lines of the proposal we made in September; if we are to talk at all about 2006, a further increase on the rates must be forthcoming.

2. We will not agree to any further contribution unless we are absolutely convinced that it is needed and it is approved by you, the members.

3. To do that, we need the same complete disclosure for both 2005 spending and 2006 budget proposals that we had before agreeing to the rollback in 2004.

We have agreed to meet again on November 10 and 11.

Your bargaining committee,
Scott Edmonds
Karine Fortin
James Stevenson
Kathy Viner, CMG Staff Representative

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