The CMG is opposing the CBC’s plan to end in-house documentary production announced in June. We are concerned that by basically closing the doc unit and relying solely on independent producers, documentaries on the CBC will skew toward subjects that are commercially viable and the CBC will lose its ability to air public interest and challenging long-form journalism beyond the format of such shows as the fifth estate and Marketplace.
“By virtually shutting down the documentary unit, the employer violates the spirit of both the CBC’s mandate as a public broadcaster and the collective agreement which was negotiated less than a year ago,” says Marc-Philippe Laurin, the president of the CMG’s CBC branch.
In our view, this is a major move that amounts to a contracting-out of documentary production, and under the CMG contract, the CBC is obligated to give the union notice so it can provide alternative options when the employer is considering such a major move. “There are serious questions about whether other sections of the contract were violated,” says Laurin.
About 30 Guild members are affected by the planned closure of the creative elements of the documentary unit. They stand to be declared redundant once their individual projects are completed.
The union has raised the issue of the future of long-form journalism with the CBC. The CMG is considering all available options to push back against the plan to air only documentaries commissioned or acquired from independent producers.