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Tentative agreement reached on 4-year deal

Your bargaining committee is pleased to announce that we’ve reached a tentative agreement with Reuters Canada for a four-year contract. You will receive an exhaustive list of all proposed changes prior to a ratification vote, which we expect will be held in the second week of June. The bargaining committee is recommending acceptance of the agreement. In the interim, here are the main points.

Salary increases:
Effective January 1, 2005 – 0.5%; effective April 1, 2005 a further, 2.5%, fully retroactive.
April 1, 2006 2.75%
April 1, 2007 2.75%
April 1, 2008 2.75%

Scheduling in Editorial:
With the launch of Reuters online operations, the company has moved to a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation. Employees expressed the need to be treated in a fair and healthy manner in the scheduling of shifts, especially overnight, and we feel this has been achieved.

Employees will not be scheduled to work overnight shifts for longer than three consecutive weeks and no one will be scheduled to work overnights again for at least nine weeks. At the end of an overnight rotation, employees will be guaranteed three consecutive days off.

Other highlights:
? Improved terms and conditions of employment for part time employees;
? Time off for family and/or personal emergencies;
? Sick leave provisions are now clearly spelled out in the collective agreement

Needless to say, we haven’t bargained without making some concessions. Reuters’ management came to the table seeking to share the cost of some of the health benefits. The bargaining committee made two concessions, in areas where we believe they will have the least overall impact. First, the charge for the Pay Direct Drug Benefit will rise from $2 to $5 per prescription as of January 1, 2006.

The second concerns Long Term Disability insurance benefits. Beginning Jan. 1, 2006, employees will pay the premiums for LTD insurance ? which amounts to less than one percent of salary. The change does benefit employees. Currently, the company pays the premiums. Should you become disabled and qualify for LTD, you will receive 60% of your salary. However, this income is taxable so your net take home pay is significantly reduced. When the employee pays the premium, the income is not taxable and results in a monthly payment almost equal to your regular after tax take-home pay.

These benefit changes are being implemented for all Reuters’ Canada employees ? Guild and non-Guild.

Your bargaining committee believes this is a good deal for Reuters Canada’s Guild-represented staff, especially against a backdrop of budget cuts and outsourcing throughout the company worldwide.

We will be issuing the complete Memorandum of Agreement to all members before the ratification vote. Packages (including English/French Memorandum of Agreement, a ballot and return envelope) will be sent to all members outside Toronto by courier as soon as possible.

Rick Franolla
Victoria Hantziantoniou
Jeff Jones
Kathy Viner, CMG Staff Rep

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