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Guild trying to restart real contract talks

Here are some clarifications about why negotiations are not currently taking place and what the Guild is trying to do to restart the talks.

The Guild has met with federal labour minister Joe Fontana to ask for the appointment of a special mediator. Fontana has indicated that he is prepared to do whatever he can to get the talks going again.

The Corporation locked out CBC employees on August 15 because the Guild bargaining committee refused to accept the principle the Corporation was advancing: that CBC management be allowed to hire entire classifications of employees (eg. producers, editors, researchers, hosts, information technology workers, account managers, etc) on a contract basis whenever management so wishes. This is the same proposal that has been rejected overwhelmingly by Guild members and their bargaining committee. Based on the messages of support that are streaming in from across the country, it is also not something that CBC audiences ? the public broadcaster’s most important stakeholders ? favour.

The Corporation’s position has not changed since the lockout began. In trying to work around the Corporation’s single-minded approach, the Guild tabled a proposal months ago that is designed to address what management claimed was a need for greater flexibility. We believe our proposal creates the framework for a settlement as it addresses the need for flexibility in our industry.

Where there is ongoing work there should be ongoing jobs and ongoing employees ? people who can plan a career, a family, a future, and who can’t simply be tossed because a program changes or the boss does. CBC has wide latitude right now in how it uses Guild members. It has layoff and recall language when work disappears or funding is reduced. It has multiple ways of hiring, assigning and scheduling employees.

The Guild understands there may be legitimate reasons to hire individuals on a non-permanent basis. That’s why about 30% of employees working under the Guild jurisdiction are engaged that way. We have even told management that we are prepared to address specific issues and problems. To date, they have been unable to identify a single program, project or other undertaking they have not been able to meet under the terms of the current collective agreement.

For the moment, CBC management appears completely disinterested in real contract talks. It is setting a very strict condition on returning to the negotiating table, forcing the Guild and its members to agree to a major concession even before any bargaining could resume. Despite what senior managers are telling Guild members as they cross the picket line in Toronto, the Guild bargaining committee has received no word from management that it is prepared to return to the table without conditions.

We will keep you informed of all developments.

For more information, contact the Guild (guild@interlog.com) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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