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Montreal, Thursday, March 26, 2009–In an internal announcement, CBC/Radio-Canada senior executives notified their employees today of the scale of the job cuts that will be hitting them. In all, 800 positions will be eliminated, including 336 in the French network. The crown corporation’s budget deficit is estimated at $171 million for 2009-2010.

Voluntary retirement incentives are planned, but employees with less seniority will be affected by the job cuts. Layoffs will begin over the summer and will continue until the end of September 2009.

CUPE has also learned that the Corporation’s assets will be sold to the tune of $125 million, raising concerns about loss of public heritage. Once these assets are liquidated, the union wonders what other cost-cutting measures will be coming down the pipe in the near future.

It is hard not to make a connection between these job cuts and the oft-expressed desire of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to slash culture, particularly French-language culture,” declared Jacqueline Turgeon, president of the union representing office staff at Radio-Canada (CUPE 675). “With a weakened CRTC, it appears that the reformist wing of the party will achieve its goal of reducing the influence of CBC/Radio-Canada on Canada’s cultural landscape.”

Moreover, in the turmoil of the current global economic crisis, CUPE notes that most Western governments are helping businesses to counter unemployment, while in Canada, the government doesn’t even help its own broadcaster. “Clearly, this is a purely ideological rather than a practical maneuver,” deplored Jacqueline Turgeon.

CUPE 675 is currently developing strategies to minimize the impact of these job cuts on employees who will be affected as well as on those who remain, because we have learned from experience that staff shortages cause other types of problems, such as professional burnout.

Apart from its 7,000 members in the Quebec communications sector, CUPE is also active in a number of other sectors, particularly health and social services, education, urban and air transportation, provincial corporations and public organizations, energy, and municipalities. With more than 105,000 members, CUPE is the largest FTQ affiliate.

This press release and other information are posted on the website scfp.qc.ca


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