A major broadcasting dispute in Canada has ended with huge victories for media union rights and public service values in North America. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation today reached a tentative contract agreement with the Canadian Media Guild to end a lock out of 5,500 staff that has lasted 50 days and which provoked protests around the world.
The workers at the CBC are represented by the Canadian Media Guild, which is affiliated to TNG-CWA. Unions in membership of the International Federation of Journalists and other media unions held a worldwide day of action.
In a show of global solidarity, unions in London, Jerusalem and Washington held protests and union leaders in major press centres around the world met with Canadian ambassadors and delivered letters of protest to the Canadian government.
The dispute at the CBC arose when the company demanded the increased use of temporary and contract agreements at the CBC, whose numbers have exploded while permanent positions have become scarce.
According to the CMG, the agreement includes "a strong commitment to permanent staff as the standard for employment at the CBC."
Among the key settlement issues were improved rights for contract and temporary employees as well as:
-- A wage increase of 12.6 per cent
-- Full retroactivity for all employees on the payroll prior to the lockout, including contract and temporary employees
-- A $1000 signing bonus
-- A new "interpreters' premium" of $800 per year for northern employees required to work in more than one language
“This agreement is a marvellous result given the hard-fought nature of the dispute,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists. “It has been achieved thanks to the determination and commitment on the part of Canadian colleagues to settle for nothing less than social justice and a fair deal and it is a testament to the value of international solidarity.”
If ratified, the deal will bring the locked-out employees back to work for the first time since August 15.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries