Telus Offers 2,000 Workers Voluntary Severance and Retirement Packages [Update]

On Wednesday afternoon, Telus informed USW Local 1944 that it is offering nearly 2,000 union members that are Telus employees voluntary severance and early retirement packages.

The union blasted the Telus offer, saying the fact the telecom no longer requires labour of 2,000 employees “seems implausible.” USW Local 1944 said “Telus should be ashamed” for not investing in Canada and Canadian workers like other telcos.

This move, described by the union as prioritizing the compensation of Telus executives over the interests of its workers, has sparked significant controversy and disappointment within the union. Telus, known for its motto ‘Give Where They Live’, seems to be ignoring the potentially detrimental impacts this decision could have on Canadian communities, says the union.

“The assertion that Telus abruptly no longer requires the labour of up to 2,000 members seems implausible. It becomes increasingly apparent that this avaricious decision by Telus executives prioritizes their own compensation, overlooking our membership. Furthermore, they appear to be dismissive of the impacts this could have on Canadian communities,” read the letter to members obtained by iPhone in Canada.

A Telus spokesperson told iPhone in Canada in a statement the company is “an industry leader in putting customers first, and customers increasingly want digital, convenient, and easy to use self-serve options.”

“We’ve made significant investments in customer service technology and self-serve capabilities to provide our customers with more service options,” said the Telus spokesperson. “As a result, we recently offered a voluntary program to some team members, and based on past similar initiatives and recognizing our team members’ retirement and career plans, we anticipate a small proportion of team members to choose this voluntary offer,” said the Telus statement.

The move comes after USW Local 1944 set a new agreement with Telus just in April, offering some increases in wages and benefits, with 70% of the membership voting in favour of the new deal.

The union emphasized that while every member has the right to make the best decision for themselves and their families regarding the acceptance of a package, it is vital that they carefully weigh the costs and benefits. To help members make informed decisions, the union plans to release a guide in the coming days. In the midst of this developing story, USW Local 1944 stands in solidarity with its members, it says.

Update May 18, 2023: A Telus spokesperson added they expect “several hundred” to accept the voluntary offers. The company stressed it has “strict limitations” on how many interested employees they will accept.