Unifor Condemns Bell for Cutting 4,800 Jobs, Prepares for Fight

In a forceful slamming of Bell, Lana Payne, National President of Unifor, the country’s largest private sector union, blasted the telecom for its recent mass layoffs.

Payne contrasted Bell’s decision to cut nearly 4,800 employees with its ongoing policy of increasing dividends to shareholders, a practice that has been consistent for more than a decade. She also pointed out Bell cut 1,300 media jobs in 2023.

“Hello, I’m Lana Payne, National President of Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union,” Payne began, setting the stage for a takedown of Bell. She described Bell as a company “that, frankly, has enjoyed special privileges and status in Canada,” only to proceed with a large-scale job termination.

“A company that just callously terminated thousands of workers, slashing 4,800 jobs,” she stated, highlighting the stark disparity between corporate gains and workforce treatment. The cuts came on the heels of Bell’s annual ‘Let’s Talk’ mental health campaign.

The Unifor president condemned Bell for its apparent disregard for its broader responsibilities to Canadians, emphasizing that the company’s focus should extend beyond pleasing shareholders. “You are supposed to be a leader in this country. Your responsibility is bigger than shareholders and stock buybacks,” she argued.

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Payne also criticized Bell for blaming the federal government for its decisions and for its approach towards its workforce and media obligations. “At a time when we need local news and telco services more than ever, Bell is running in the other direction. That’s not leadership,” Payne remarked.

“Canceling news broadcasts across Canada is a blow to our members and to communities, to local news, and to our very democracy,” she noted.

Payne positioned Unifor in direct opposition to Bell’s recent actions, signalling the union’s readiness to challenge the company. “Bell, you have now put Unifor squarely on your path, and you need to know that our members recognize a fight when they see one. And so do I. So let’s go,” she declared late last week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Bell’s decision to cut jobs a “garbage decision”. The move by Bell to cut jobs has resulted in MPs summoning executives to Ottawa to explain their decision. There’s likely not much the feds can do here. But grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.

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