The union representing workers at Ontario’s two provincially funded television networks is shocked at the pay increases awarded to TVO and TFO managers.
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) says the surprisingly large raises come at a time when most employees have been held to a maximum increase of 1% due to Bill 124, the Ontario government’s legislation that caps increases of public sector workers’ wages for three years.
However, the province’s 2020 Sunshine List showing compensation for some public sector employees proves that the cost-control measures do not apply to the highest earners.
The Sunshine List shows that most managers at TVO were given at least a 5% raise. Some were given raises around 10%, and the biggest increases were granted for members of senior management who earned almost 20% and 15% more than they did in 2019. Most of these wage hikes were on salaries well above $100,000.
TVO’s Executive Board mandated these managers to deny union members any pay increases above 1%, not even raises to help keep up with inflation.
The same held true for the French language broadcaster Groupe Média TFO. Managers there were given an average increase of 4.77%. The two highest increases were 11% and 13%.
“The level of hypocrisy is astounding,” says Carmel Smyth, President of the Canadian Media Guild, a local of CWA Canada. “At a time when the Ontario public broadcasters have preached austerity for most workers, and the province has enacted a controversial law banning public service employees from earning more than a 1% increase, we’ve learned those rules don’t apply to those in management.”
According to Smyth, the inequality exposed by pay raises for managers only is even more troubling given TVO workers have not had a raise at or above inflation in almost a decade. “This means that while some managers get double-digit increases, workers are making less in real dollars than they did in 2012.”
Smyth said the financial injustice is also disappointing following job and programming cuts at TFO just a few years ago, and a few months after the broadcaster spent one million dollars on branding and marketing.
“People were told there was no money, and that they had to tighten their belts, yet money was found for significant raises to the highest paid managers. There is glaring unfairness here, and clearly a different standard for those who make the financial decisions,” she said.
The Canadian Media Guild is calling for wage fairness at TVO and TFO. The CMG is part of a coalition of unions currently challenging the legality of Ontario’s Bill 124 which bars workers from earning more than a 1% pay increase a year.