The Guild is meeting with CBC management and other CBC unions today to further discuss the proposed cuts and possible measures to mitigate permanent layoffs. We are continuing to seek details on how the cuts will affect employees and audiences and have expressed our concerns about the impacts on local and regional programming.
As you may know, the CBC does not plan to issue layoff notices to permanent employees until mid-May. Before then, the Corporation will be seeking volunteers for early retirement through what is called a “Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program” aimed at those employees whose age and years of service add up to at least 85, or who are 65 years of age and over. Eligible employees will receive individual letters from the CBC with the specifics. We understand the benefits in the program will be all that the CBC can afford given its financial situation. Unlike in the past, the Corporation is not getting any help from the government to finance these benefits. If you don’t fit the formula but are still interested in leaving, please talk to your local Guild president.
Temporary and contract employees
Even if layoff notices aren’t planned until May, some temporary and contract employees are already being affected. If you have been told your services are no longer required and you have concerns about whether your rights are being respected, please get in touch with the Guild right away at email@example.com or by calling 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.
More detailed information about the layoff process will be available in the near future; in the meantime, click here for an overview of the layoff procedure that is in our new collective agreement. The full language is available beginning on page 45 at: www.cmg.ca/CBCmemoagreement2009EN.pdf.
Campaign to stop the cuts and increase CBC funding
Meanwhile, Guild activists across the country continue to work with CBC/Radio-Canada viewers and listeners, as well as MPs, to stop the cuts and to make the case for a permanent increase to CBC funding.
A year ago, the parliamentary Heritage Committee recommended a 7-year agreement between the CBC and the government that would include adequate and indexed funding. The report also recommended increasing CBC’s annual parliamentary appropriation by approximately $200 million, or from $33 per Canadian per year to $40. Average funding for public broadcasting among industrialized countries is $80 per capita per year. We are urging the government to implement the report recommendations to avoid job and service cuts as part of its economic stimulus package.
A rally was held in Winnipeg on March 30 to protest the closing of the station in Thompson, Manitoba and the elimination of 10 hours per week of local programming for CBC North Country. On the weekend, Sudbury CBC listeners are planning a rally to oppose cuts there. We are in the midst of planning a national campaign with other partners. If you know of other local actions or would like to help in a national campaign, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is a difficult and frustrating time and we are doing everything possible to defend your jobs and your rights, as well as the important services you provide to the Canadian public. We will continue to provide information to you as quickly as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, or any ideas that could help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of your local Guild executive or with the national office (email@example.com) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.