Monday, October 03, 2005

CBC Lockout Watch, Day 50/50

CBC On The Line has a roundup of reaction from cheerful CBC employees celebrating what they believe to be a decisive victory over management.

The Canadian Media Guild agrees:

“We finally have established that there will be no runaway use of contract employees,” said Arnold Amber, president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild. “This was the major battle ground in the negotiations and we have won.”

The number of employees on contract will be limited to 9.5% of permanent staff. People who have been on contract for four years can convert to permanent status, including employees working in Arts & Entertainment who have been denied that right since 1996. That provision is ongoing, so that anyone on contract who completes 4 years of service during the life of the agreement will be able to convert to permanent status.

People can still be hired on a temporary basis for the purposes of relief, backfill, emergencies or to augment resources temporarily. After 18 months in the same location and media line (radio, TV or internet), temporary employees with a break of one week or less in service will convert to permanent status. CBC management will no longer have the option of hiring people on freelance fixed-term contracts.

CBC's response is notable is simply a quiet welcome back:

These last seven weeks have been very difficult for everyone throughout the Corporation, and we will work hard to overcome the challenges that this labour dispute has presented for us – our future as an organization depends on it. We look forward to seeing everyone back at work, doing what they do best: creating and broadcasting exceptional television, radio and online programming for Canadians across the country.

The question that remains on everyone's mind is obvious: how does this affect Hockey Night in Canada?

Answer: it won't. The same old doubleheader with Coach's Corner will be back as usual, though Jim Hughson will be in Chris Cuthbert's place.

A few final remarks about following the lockout:

When I started covering the lockout, I had very little understanding of the issues involved or why both sides were so committed to their particular visions of an institution that many of us on the right in Canada ignore, when we do not despise it.

Even though I still don't share either side's particular vision for the CBC, I have come away with a greater understanding of the CBC people's commitment to what they envision for public broacasting.

And I'd also like to think that those of us who by conviction are sceptical about the CBC as an institution would also have become more engaged in the debate.

Would that we were all so passionate about our chosen professions as many of the people who blogged about their joys and frustrations about working for CBC. That means you too, Robin.

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