CMG reports progress with CBC on new agreement


TORONTO - The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) and the CBC have concluded two weeks of bargaining with an agreement on language that will give employees more flexibility in their work days and weeks reports the CMG.

The article, called "Alternate Work Arrangements," includes provisions for job sharing, a compressed work week, a reduced work week, work at home and other alternate work arrangements. While protecting the rights of full-time employees, the language lays out a process for applying for these arrangements and sets out their working conditions. The language is part of a package proposed by the Guild aimed at addressing the much broader issue of work-life balance. The CMG says its encouraged that the Corporation recognizes the importance of this issue. While this is a positive step towards a new collective agreement, the CMG says it still has much to do.

On a less positive note, the CBC has reacted unfavourably to the Guild's comprehensive package on workforce adjustment says the CMG. The package includes processes for dealing with layoffs and recalls, as well as provisions for coping with technological changes and changes in how we work. The package also addresses the issue of contracting out and the sale of any portion of the CBC. The Guild seeks a process that would require the Corporation to exhaust every possibility for continued employment before laying anyone off. In the event a layoff becomes the only option, we seek improved layoff pay and recall rights.

Also in this session, the CMG had extensive discussions on training. It proposed language that would improve employees' access to training and would make the process a fairer and more transparent one. Under the current system, managers select participants while others rarely know about it until after the fact. The Guild believes there are two types of training at work. The first is the type of training necessary for workers to do their job (e.g. Vision, iNews, Dalet, Avid, etc). The second is professional development training training that allows workers to develop their career and give them greater access to other employment opportunities. The CMG considers training and career development a job security issue, and one that is in the interests of both the employee and the CBC.

Last week Neil MacDonald, who represents the foreign correspondents, joined to discuss issues unique to this type of work. The biggest concern for these members is what happens to them when they are repatriated.

The CBC has also tabled a response to a Guild proposal on bereavement leave. It does offer some increased leave to cope with the death of a spouse or child, but it maintains the current three days for any other loved one such as a mother, father or sibling. We are troubled by this notion of a two-tier bereavement leave. The Guild has proposed up to five days for any family member.

Bargaining has adjourned now until the New Year and negotiations will resume on January 12 with both parties continuing meetings every second week.

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