Friday, July 19, 2024

Unifor says 35 Global News jobs cut across Canada as part of Corus changes

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Unifor says 35 of its members at Global News have been laid off as part of changes announced Wednesday by Corus Entertainment Inc. CJR-B-T

Randy Kitt, Unifor’s media director, says there were 13 layoffs in Calgary, one in B.C., three in Lethbridge, eight in Edmonton, three in Ottawa and seven in Toronto.

He says that’s on top of 11 Unifor members at Global who were already laid off in 2024.

On Wednesday, Global News spokeswoman Anna Arnone said the changes come as part of an ongoing evaluation of its business and an efficiency review across Corus.

Corus Entertainment announces layoffs at Global News

She declined to offer further details, such as whether employees had been laid off, though she said certain roles had been affected.

“These changes correlate with the current economic and regulatory reality we, and other media organizations, find ourselves in,” Arnone said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday.

Kitt called the news a devastating blow to the industry, adding the jobs are “desperately needed” in Canada.

“The total journalists and media workers laid off from Unifor this year already, that’s in all outlets, is 197,” he said.

Corus announced last week it had been informed by Warner Bros. Discovery that some of its programming arrangements would not be renewed at the end of the year. On Monday, Rogers Communications Inc. said it had signed multi-year deals with NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. for their popular lifestyle and entertainment brands in Canada, effective in January 2025.

In April, Corus chief executive Doug Murphy said the company continues to reduce costs following job cuts and a programming reduction plan that began last year.

Last month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission granted Corus’ request to ease some of its Canadian content spending requirements after the company warned it was in an increasingly dire financial situation.

The broadcaster had asked the regulator to “urgently” make the changes last October, saying they would provide “much needed flexibility” amid programming and advertising uncertainty, as well as “severely constrained” finances.

Brent Jolly, national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, said in a statement Thursday that the erosion of the Canadian media landscape poses a threat to democracy.

“It is extremely disappointing that, once again, front-line journalists are the ones who bear the brunt of the industry’s broken business model,” he said.

“Layoffs may serve as a short-term stopgap to balance sheets they further destabilize, and shortchange, democracy.”

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