Canadian Media Guild wants to nix short-term contracts

With the start of the lucrative hockey season looming, the union repping 5,500 locked-out staffers at Canuck pubcaster CBC has rejected management’s latest offer.

The two sides are split over short-term contracts, which the Canadian Media Guild wants to nix in favor of full-time positions.

In its new offer, management says it will restrict the number of new short-term contracts to 90 per year. Right now, there are 180 staff on such contracts out of 5,500 employees.

Guild immediately rejected Wednesday’s proposal.

“The offer means that literally every future employee could be hired on a non-permanent basis,” said the guild’s chief negotiator, Dan Oldfield. “This is out of line with Canadian workplace values and far worse than what you find among private-sector broadcasters. It’s clear CBC management is not anxious to end this crisis.”

CBC’s TV and radio channels have been crippled since Aug. 15, when the lockout began.

Most industryites think management must settle by Oct. 8, when its broadcast of games from the new National Hockey League season begins. The NHL is a key profit center for CBC, and the network is still smarting from losing last season due to the NHL labor dispute.

CBC management says it has a contingency plan to broadcast NHL games without the staffers but won’t disclose details.

Both sides are still at the negotiating table.

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