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Update on pay, benefits and leaves in a work stoppage

With less than a week to go before the scheduled deadline of our contract talks, we have some information and suggestions to share with you on important pay, benefit and leave issues.

The earliest a strike or lockout could begin is 00:00:01 Monday August 15, 2005. However, either side must give 72 hours notice before taking strike or lockout action, and neither has done so yet.

Guild representatives met with CBC management earlier this week to discuss protocol in the event of a work stoppage. Here are some clarifications:

If a strike or lockout were to begin next week, employees would still have pay deposited on August 18 and September 1. The second pay cheque would cover work for the period beginning August 8. The Guild urges you to submit your time cards by Friday August 12.

Management agrees that leaves commencing prior to a work stoppage will be honoured, but is taking an absurd position on when annual leave actually starts. For example: if a strike or lockout started at 00:00:01 on Monday the 15th, leave would not be honoured for employees whose vacation was due to start that day if their shift would have started any time after 00:00:01! That means, though, that if a work stoppage began at noon on that day, and your shift would have started earlier had you not been on vacation, your annual leave would be honoured.

The Guild continues to oppose vigourously the Corporation’s decision not to honour annual leaves scheduled to begin after the start of a strike or lockout. It is annual leave that has been approved and scheduled and money that CBC owes employees. Management’s response: in a work stoppage, “collective agreements are not in effect” and “we do not want to fund a strike.” More than once, CBC management has said that its position is a way to presssure employees.

We recommend that members forced to cancel their vacation as a result of CBC’s decision not to pay annual leave keep a copy of all non-refundable expenses, such as plane tickets.

On the issue of deferred salary leave, management is willing to look at individual cases. Get in touch with the Guild if you are scheduled to begin a deferred salary leave in the next few weeks.

On maternity leave, the Corporation also continues to refuse to top up EI benefits for employees who have leaves that would start during a work stoppage.

The Guild has now learned that CBC management is willing to go to arbitration on the matter of the various leaves quickly. We will keep you posted.

As required by the Canada Labour Code, the CBC must continue benefits during a work stoppage as long as the Guild is willing to pay the premiums. We have informed CBC that the Union will pay the costs to maintain supplementary health. You can continue to send claims to Great-West Life as normal.

The Guild will ensure that your life insurance continues during a srike or lockout.

The Corporation has agreed that members working in locations away from home should stop work, secure their equipment and return home at CBC expense if a work stoppage begins. They would be paid until their return home.

Housing arrangements for foreign correspondents will be maintained. Foreign correspondents can opt to return to Canada or participate in the work stoppage from where they are. Members in small locations, such as one-person bureaus, can also perform strike duty where they work. Contact the Guild for more information on strike duty in remote locations.

Many of you have outstanding car loans or mortgages. We would suggest that you talk to your local bank or credit union, or your landlord, to explain the situation and ask about options. Generally speaking, financial institutions are often willing to suspend or defer payments as long as they have sufficient advance notice.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Glenn Gray (glenn@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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