Telus ‘Declares War’ on Canadian Economy, Says Union [Update]

Last month, Telus offered 2,000 workers from United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1944 voluntary severance and retirement packages, but now the union has said this number has increased to over 4,000.

Late last week, USW Local 1944 wrote a scathing response to Telus, alleging the company “declares war on the Canadian economy.” The severance and retirement packages being offered represent a majority of these unionized employees.

“This means that the very money that Canadians pay to Telus for telecom services is being used to pay Canadians to leave their jobs, thereby permanently eliminating good, middle-class, union jobs from this country. #ShameOnTelus”, wrote USW Local 1944.

Telus has justified the job cuts by stating that customers prefer self-serve options and that the job losses are a result of significant investment in customer service technology. However, USW Local 1944 disputes these claims, arguing that customers prefer knowledgeable, local employees, especially given the high telecom costs in Canada.

The union also points out that Telus’ customer service is already facing challenges due to poor workplace systems, inadequate employee training, sales pressure at the expense of service, and sub-par contractor work quality. They argue that these job cuts will exacerbate an already problematic situation.

USW Local 1944 has also accused Telus of misrepresenting the number of jobs they planned to cut and offshore in the past. They argue that while Telus claims to “give where they live,” the company’s actions suggest otherwise. The union points out that Telus’s revenue comes mainly from Canadians, including from Canadian government contracts, but the company continues to reduce jobs in Canada while hiring more employees overseas.

In response to the telecom’s actions, USW Local 1944 has outlined a series of measures, including revealing Telus’ alleged hypocrisy to the public, lobbying politicians to maintain high standards of telecom quality and protect Canadian employment, investigating legal avenues to challenge the validity of the VSPs, and engaging members to participate in these campaigns.

USW Local 1944 has vowed to continue these actions until Telus’ “true colours are known to all.” They urge members and the public to stay tuned for updates and information on how they can help.

Last month, in response to the news about the severance and retirement packages being offered to nearly 2,000 union employees, Telus told iPhone in Canada they expected “several hundred” to accept the voluntary offers, while adding they had “strict limitations” on how many would be accepted.

Update June 12, 2023: According to Telus, it says it remains one of Canada’s largest and best employers with more than 25,000 team members nationally.

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