CBC trims 235 jobs

Canadian pubcaster's cuts to save $15 mil

MONTREAL — Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said Tuesday that it is trimming 235 more jobs from its English-language TV service, on top of the 175 announced earlier this year.

The most recent round of trims at the pubcaster involves 212 full-timers who will be laid off and 23 jobs that will be cut by not filling vacant posts.

CBC Television’s earlier trims were mostly from the Toronto HQ of the network. Almost all of the new cuts are from regional news operations, primarily journalists and technicians. The trimming will save the web about C$15 million ($10 million) annually.

News trim

CBC president Robert Rabinovitch had warned that more job cuts were on the way when he announced several weeks ago the cutback of the network’s regional supper-hour newscasts from one hour to a half-hour. He had planned to ax the daily regional newscasts, but in the face of widespread public opposition and under pressure from his own board of directors, he backed down and kept the shows, but at half the length. Starting this fall, the half-hours will be packaged with a 30-minute national news show produced in Toronto.

CBC’s unions have argued that management plans to sabotage these shows by slashing their budgets, and union reps said Tuesday’s announcement confirms that the corporation has no intention of supporting the regional news operations.

“Robert Rabinovitch announced the so-called 30-30 show as the right compromise,” said Arnold Amber, vice president of the Canadian Media Guild, which reps 110 of the staffers fired. “But given today’s announcement, one has to wonder whether the local stations will have enough resources.”

The CBC has trimmed some 3,000 jobs over the past 10 years in reaction to cutbacks of roughly $270 million to its annual federal allocation. It presently receives around $200 million annually from the federal government, with an additional $157 million coming from advertising revenue. Management also said Tuesday that there will be more job cuts, including reductions in management and administrative ranks.

‘Search for efficiencies’

“The ongoing search for efficiencies and savings is a fact of life in our business, as we strive to focus scarce resources on core activities,” said Harold Redekopp, veepee of CBC Television.

CBC recently announced that it is beginning the process of selling its system of transmitters and transmission towers, assets valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, but the federal government has said it hasn’t decided whether the pubcasters will be allowed to keep the proceeds.

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