Tuesday, 6 March 2007

CEP fights layoffs

From today's Winnipeg Free Press:

The union representing employees at the Winnipeg Sun said it will challenge layoffs that will eliminate six of the 45 positions in the tabloid's newsroom.


Paul McKie, national representative for the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers union, said the collective agreement with the paper has a sub-contracting clause that prohibits job losses if work is transferred outside the newspaper.

The CEP represents about 165 unionized employees at the Winnipeg Sun but the job losses are restricted to the newsroom.

If not enough staff at the Sun newsroom take up the offer of a buy-out, the paper will layoff staff according to the seniority provisions of the collective agreement.

A source said the buy-out package 2.4 weeks of pay for every year of service up to a maximum of 52 weeks of pay.

McKie said the paper's owner, Quebecor Inc., justified the need to cut positions because work once done by newsroom copy editors is now being done by copy editors at the chain's other newspapers.

"There is work available (at the Sun), the owners have farmed it out to their other newspapers," McKie said. "The union is concerned because the paper's owner is sending work elsewhere and putting people out of work here in Winnipeg."

The Sun newspaper chain has rationalized its national news coverage: National pages dealing with sports, entertainment and general news are being designed and laid out in London, Ont., and then sent nightly to the nine English-language urban newspapers in the chain.

Luc Lavoie, executive vice-president of Quebecor Inc., said last week that as a result of the national rationalization of news pages, there is less work for copy editors to do at each of the individual newspapers.


McKie said the Winnipeg Sun used to have a good reputation for providing a great deal of local entertainment, sports and crime stories, but added the changes throughout the chain will mean a drastic reduction in local coverage.

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