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TORONTO, July 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor will be keeping a close eye on the BCE's plan to buy up the shares in Bell Aliant that it does not already own.

"We will be vigilant in maintaining our members' rights as this process plays out in the coming months," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

Unifor represents technicians, clerical and other workers at both Bell Aliant and BCE, which today announced a $3.95-billion plan to privatize Bell Aliant. Dias was notified of the move this morning.

Unifor will meet with BCE and Bell Aliant officials as soon as possible to discuss the impact of the move on Unifor members at the two companies. Today's announcement makes no specific mention of job cuts, beyond eliminating what it calls redundant costs.

"We will be discussing just what the employer means by redundant - and any other impacts this will have on workers at the two companies," Dias said.

Dias stressed that collective agreements will not be affected by the privatization, saying the contracts remain fully in effect and that Unifor will represent its members interests to the fullest, while working to ensure that service to the public is not hurt.

"Our members are committed to providing top-notch service to the public, and we will work to ensure that continues," Dias said.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 27,000 in telecommunications. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

SOURCE Unifor

For further information:

please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054


 
 
 


 
 
 
2014-07-02

The stage is set for regulatory hearings that could reshape the way Canadians watch and pay for television.

In its public proceedings and scheduled Let’s Talk TV proceedings, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has opened up industry policy and regulator activity for discussion, debate and revision.

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais says major changes should be expected as a result; the regulator will hold hearings in early September; its decisions on the future of TV in Canada are expected in early 2015.

The CRTC has fuelled discussion on various aspects of the future of TV broadcasting, with much of the focus on the so-called ‘pick-and-pay model’ for cable television, as well as the future of local television and who should pay for it.

Along with members of the public and industry lobby groups, Canada’s biggest media companies have now responded, and they have come up with competing programs to enhance consumer choice and support local programming.

Some industry observers say the pick-and-pay concept could increase the price of individual channels, driving consumers to buy specialty channel packages anyway.

Bell says it supports pick-and-pay and believes Canadians "shouldn't have to pay for channels they don't want just to get the channels they do. In addition to the extensive range of TV packaging options we make available, we seek to offer pick and pay as an option to consumers," said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Residential Services.

Shaw Communications says it wanted the CRTC to ensure that consumers aren't forced to purchase certain high-cost services, like sports, as part of their basic cable packages. It has proposed a set of guidelines, called Market Guidelines to Maximize Customer Choice and Flexibility, to help consumers get the most out of their cable or satellite services.

Telus says it stands behind consumers having the option to choose which channels they want, but that for consumers to benefit "those choices must be reasonably priced."

Rogers says it is open to pick-and-pay options beyond that and suggests offering more than half its non-basic channels à la carte.

"Delivering more choice for customers depends on the CRTC banning unreasonable contracts that prevent TV providers from offering channels on a pick and pay basis," explained Ken Engelhart, senior vice-president, Regulatory, Rogers Communications. "The CRTC is taking a look at this barrier to choice and we're confident they'll do the right thing for consumers."

Rogers has previously trialed flexible packaging, in London, Ontario, offering nearly 1,000 customers channel bundles and an option to build their own packages.

Shaw's proposed guidelines support greater choice and flexibility, and come with provisions that ensure a majority of services are available on a pick-and-pay basis.

Shaw describes already offering more than 90 individual pick-and- pay channels available to Shaw Cable customers and more than 70 for Shaw Direct customers. Further, all Shaw Media specialty channels may also be offered by cable and satellite providers on a pick-and-pay-basis, reflecting Shaw's ongoing commitment to value and flexibility.

Among Shaw’s proposed guidelines – consumers would not be forced to purchase high-cost services, like sports, as part of their basic package.

Bell’s support for pick-and-pay options for television channels not included in basic packages comes with suggestions to ensure the long-term sustainability of local programming in a commercial marketplace that enables negotiations between broadcasters and distributors for any channel without carriage rights.

Bell proposes to convert local conventional TV stations into local specialty services, carried as part of basic packages, and subject to local programming requirements and be.  The locals would be able to charge wholesale rates to broadcast distributors, subject to existing CRTC must-carry regulations. The combined revenue from advertising and wholesale fees would support and sustain local programming, the company described.

However, Rogers has said it would not support the plan for the new expenses, which it says will be passed along to cable customers.

Bell, Rogers and Shaw are also calling for a reduction in or removal of requirements for airing Canadian content, pledging instead that they will focus production money on higher-quality Canadian shows.


 
 
 


 
 
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