Strength on the picket lines and outreach to the public have resulted in the first major sign of a breakthrough in negotiations between the Canadian Media Guild and CBC management. Today, federal labour minister Joe Fontana sent a letter to the Guild and to CBC management asking both sides to meet with him next Monday, which will mark the beginning of the seventh week of the lockout.
“I am inviting you to meet with me…to review the status of the negotiations and to develop a plan to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion without further delay,” Fontana wrote.
The minister cited “the grave concerns expressed by many Canadians over the length of the work stoppage.”
The letter was hand delivered to Arnold Amber, president of the Guild’s CBC branch, and to George Smith, the CBC’s vice-president of human resources. It was addressed to Amber and to CBC president Robert Rabinovitch.
“We have been working very hard during this past week to get this meeting going,” said Amber. “We need some assistance to get the contract done and we need the right people in the room. If the main decision-makers from CBC senior management are there, this thing could be settled within five days after Monday.”
The two negotiating teams are meeting this afternoon to discuss implementation of job evaluation and the Guild hopes to continue meeting through the weekend. We will update you on any developments.