Barry O’Neill to address Victoria rally on abuse of worker rights by CEO Entwistle
BURNABY, BC. – CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill will have a message for Telus chief executive Darren Entwistle when the influential labour leader addresses a rally in support of striking Telus workers in Victoria tomorrow (Thursday, August 11).
“Mr. Entwistle has often referred to Telus employees as the company’s greatest asset,” says O’Neill.
“Well, then he should stop disrespecting his greatest asset by trying to get rid of it, and by chalking up one labour code violation after another. He should start respecting his greatest asset by doing what most corporate leaders with unionized workforces do in this country—sit down and negotiate a fair contract.”
O’Neill is among a group of labour leaders who will be addressing the Victoria rally in support of members of the Telecommunications Workers Union. The rally, organized by the Victoria Labour Council, starts at 5p.m. outside the Telus office at 826 Yates at Blanshard in downtown Victoria.
O’Neill dismisses Telus’ proposed contract for its “dark ages” mentality.
“They have literally rewritten the entire contract,” says O’Neill. “There’s no carryover of existing language, pay equity gains have been rolled back, and the job security provisions are full of holes. They’re squeezing every ounce out of the workers while paying Entwistle six-and-a-half million bucks a year. It’s just bloody obscene.”
O’Neill calls on union members and the general public, as customers, “to say to Telus what customers have said to Nike and other corporate abusers: ‘Times are changing. It’s no longer acceptable to say that you make the rules and the workers follow them’.”
The CUPE BC president says that Entwistle should agree to the federal government’s offer of a special mediator to help the parties get back to the negotiating table—an offer the TWU has already accepted—and that the federal government should take action on breaches by Telus brought to the national labour board’s attention.
“What are the repercussions of Telus’ not being forced to obey the law?” O’Neill asks. “It means that Canada’s credibility suffers in the eyes of the world.”
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