Friday, May 24, 2024

Unifor calls out Bell on ducking accountability for job cuts

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OTTAWA –Unifor rallied in Ottawa today to call out Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) for postponing a scheduled hearing before the House of Commons Heritage Committee to answer for the recent termination of 9% of BCE’s workforce.

“Our Bell members are here today while Bell executives continue to play games and delay accountability for firing thousands of workers across Canada while hiking shareholder payouts,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Bell Board members and executives may feel the backlash will die down if they hide in the shadows, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Unifor will keep their actions directly in the spotlight.” 

This is the second time Bell executives have begged off scheduled appearances before the Heritage Committee, first on Feb. 29 and again today on March 19. 

Unifor represents more than 19,000 telecommunications workers at BCE and its subsidiaries. The union also represents more than 2,100 members at Bell Media.

The union launched its “Shame on Bell” campaign in response to last month’s announcement that BCE is callously eliminating 4,800 jobs, including 800 Unifor members in telco and media.

“Today, we stand up against Bell’s injustice and greed. Every job lost represents a life disrupted, a family affected,” said Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier. “Canadians deserve better from their telecommunications companies. Bell’s decision to cut thousands of jobs, despite its considerable profits, is an insult to the loyalty and hard work of its employees. We are gathering in Ottawa to remind Bell and other companies that workers are not just pawns in their quest for profits.”

In June 2023 Bell Media eliminated 1,300 jobs. News coverage was further decimated last month with the elimination of most CTV News noon and weekend news casts and the dismantling of W5 as a long-form investigative unit. 

Kevin Newman, award winning news anchor, journalist and former host of W5, expressed his concerns as he joined Unifor leadership at a Parliament Hill media conference. 

“By slashing its newsrooms year after year Bell is leading an information retreat among all broadcasters, and creating TV and radio news deserts where there are few, if any, private sector journalists. Canadians are left asking, ‘where do we find the truth now?’” said Newman. 

“To keep cutting the Bell division devoted to the pursuit of truth amounts to capitulation to those adversaries who are trying to undermine our trust in truth, in one another, and in our peaceful society. This is the time to fortify our information defences, not tear them down.”

The mass termination of more than 6,000 workers in the last eight months occurred while BCE continues to rake in profits, reporting a whopping $2.3 billion profit at the end of last year. 

Find more info on Bell job cuts, profits and dividend payouts here

Following the media conference, Unifor leadership joined Bell workers to rally and march on Bell’s Ottawa headquarters, shouting the message loud and clear: Shame on Bell.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries in English please contact Unifor Communications Director Kathleen O’Keefe at @email or by cell at (416) 896-3303.

For media inquiries in French, contact: Unifor Quebec Communications Representative Véronique Figliuzzi at @email.

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