Bell Media staff hours, pay reduced for next four weeks

Bell Media has confirmed that some employees are working reduced hours at 75% of their regular salary to match a change in workload due to the impact of COVID-19 on certain parts of its business.

While the company declined to disclose the number of employees affected, Rob Duffy, Manager, Communications, for CTV News, TSN, and Bell Media Sports, told Broadcast Dialogue in an email that the reduction in hours will continue for the next four weeks. Employees will continue to receive full benefits.

Duffy said so far there have been no pandemic-related staff reductions in the Media division.

Bell Media is just the latest in a series of companies to temporarily scale back its workforce.

Industry sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Broadcast Dialogue that as of last week advertising revenue was down between 50 and 70% for many Canadian radio and television stations.

Stingray Radio temporarily laid off 90 employees earlier this month with staff across the company agreeing to temporary wage rollbacks of 10% for the majority of employees and 75% for CEO Eric Boyko.

Steve Jones, SVP Brands & Content, Radio, said the layoffs were the result of a “sudden and dramatic drop in advertising,” coupled with social distancing measures that prevent staff in reception and promotion roles from doing their public-facing jobs. Many of the furloughed positions are also tied to ad revenue, including creative writers and commercial producers.

Cogeco Media, which operates 23 radio stations in Quebec and Ontario, has laid off 130 staff, about 25% of its workforce, with those remaining taking a 10% temporary wage cut.

Print media has seen the deepest cuts with the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) estimating that there have been more than 600 temporary or permanent layoffs in the Canadian news industry since mid-March.


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