Canada’s Workers’ Union Objects Telecom Giant Bell Lay Off Of 4,000 Employees In 10-Min Video Call

Ottawa: Less than two weeks after IBM announced lay-offs in a seven-minute meeting, Canada’s private sector workers’ union Unifor has blamed Canada-based telecom giant Bell for laying off over 400 workers in a 10-minute video call meeting.

Unifor has condemned the move and termed it “beyond shameful’ in a statement issued to the press.

The union informed media that the telecom giant declared the sacked employees as “surplus” and the employees were given the service termination notice without allowing anyone to ask questions.

“Our members, who have devoted years of service to this telecoms and media giant, are being repaid with pink slips,” Unifor’s Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier alleged.

The telecom giant has, however, rejected the statement and said the company had been transparent with union leadership for over five weeks about the layoff process and had met its obligations. “Terminated employees also had individual HR meetings to discuss severance packages,” Bell’s Communication Director Ellen Murphy told media.

The layoffs came after Bell announced its plans to eliminate 4,800 positions, about nine per cent of its workforce, in February. Bell CEO Mirko Bibic had called the cuts necessary to simplify the organisation and accelerate transformation. But the decision drew wide criticism as Bell simultaneously raised its dividend payout to shareholders, Toronto Star reported.

“The truth is Bell picked a number of heads to roll so it could increase its dividend payout without an actual plan on which jobs and which workers would be eliminated so the terminations are cruelly dragged out,” Unifor which represents 19,000 workers at Bell commented.

The workers’ union further said, “Our dedicated, loyal workers, who are predominately women, will have to explain to their families tonight that they are being let go from Bell for no good reason other than making sure that their shareholders and Board of Directors come first when getting paid. It’s absolutely disgusting.”

According to the union’s release, Unifor members rallied in Ottawa to protest the cuts and criticise Bell for postponing Parliamentary hearings where it was to be questioned about the layoffs.

Unifor also launched a “Shame on Bell” campaign in response to the terminations.

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