The Canadian Media Guild (CMG), which represents CBC/Radio-Canada employees outside Quebec, says it’s working to minimize the impact of 35 layoffs announced this week by the public broadcaster.
Citing budget pressures and the shifting media landscape, employees were issued “notices of redundancy” this week with layoffs set to take effect Dec. 31. The majority are CBC News positions, based in Toronto.
In a statement, CMG says since being made aware of the pending staff cuts several weeks ago, it’s been working with the broadcaster to reduce the number of union members who will leave their positions involuntarily.
“So, the vast majority of this workforce reduction will take place through cost savings associated with retirements, through attrition, and through an agreement to not fill some positions which currently are vacant and not staffed. The goal is to ensure that members who want to continue working at the public broadcaster have the opportunity to do so,” reads the statement from Jonathan Spence, President, CBC/Radio-Canada Branch, and Kamala Rao, CMG President.
“While we lament any reductions to the overall size of the News operation and recognize the pain associated with any redundancy notices, it should be noted that fewer than ten (10) redundancy notices (which include News Express) have been served and it is currently understood that these may not result in any layoffs as members are redeployed.”
CMG says Media Library and Archives French Services will also see a reduction of three part-time and one full-time position in radio archives this month as the result of a reorganization, with an additional position to be created in Toronto.
CMG reasserts support for more public funding
The union is supporting an increase in public funding for CBC/Radio-Canada.
CMG says were the public broadcaster to be funded at a level comparable to 1990-91 in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, its parliamentary appropriation in 2019 would have amounted to more than $1.8 billion. That amount in 2018 was closer to $1.2 billion, a gap of approximately $600 million dollars.
CMG supports the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting campaign to increase the level of public funding to CBC/Radio-Canada to $50 per Canadian, per year, from the current $34. According to numbers provided by Friends, the average developed country is investing $90 per person annually into public broadcasting. BBC funding amounts to $100 per person per year, while Norway’s public broadcaster is funded to the tune of $162 per year.
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