After 17 months of difficult negotiations and seven weeks on the street, 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild succeeded in establishing the primacy of a permanent workforce at the CBC into the future.
“We finally have established that there will be no runaway use of contract employees,” said Arnold Amber, president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild. “This was the major battle ground in the negotiations and we have won.”
The number of employees on contract will be limited to 9.5% of permanent staff. People who have been on contract for four years can convert to permanent status, including employees working in Arts & Entertainment who have been denied that right since 1996. That provision is ongoing, so that anyone on contract who completes 4 years of service during the life of the agreement will be able to convert to permanent status.
People can still be hired on a temporary basis for the purposes of relief, backfill, emergencies or to augment resources temporarily. After 18 months in the same location and media line (radio, TV or internet), temporary employees with a break of one week or less in service will convert to permanent status. CBC management will no longer have the option of hiring people on freelance fixed-term contracts.
There are improvements to benefits and protections for both contract and temporary employees. In addition, a review will be conducted within 90 days of all non-permanent staff to make sure that people have been properly hired and assigned.
Today, the two sides are working on a back-to-work protocol and we will provide details as soon as possible.