1. What reasons has the CIRB given for ruling in favour of CBC/Radio-Canada’s application for review of its union structure?
In reaching its conclusion, the CIRB took three key elements into account:
- The advent of new tools for media consumption and the emergence of new competitors, against a backdrop of budget constraints, are requiring the Corporation to conduct its activities in a new work environment—one that is conducive to integration of multiple platforms and timely access to programming.
- The technological advances of the past decade have had profound impacts on working methods.
- Jurisdictional barriers and the difficulties caused by cross-unit work: reliance on cross-unit projects was an effective short-term solution, but it also led to an increase in jurisdictional grievances. Cross-unit projects are therefore not a solution conducive to maintaining healthy labour relations. The CIRB believes that reducing or eliminating the jurisdictional barriers will allow for more effective integration of duties while lessening the administrative burdens caused by the current bargaining unit structure.
2. Does the CIRB decision mean that from now on there will be only one bargaining unit at Radio-Canada?
At present, the only impact of the decision is acknowledgement that the existing Radio-Canada bargaining unit structure is no longer viable. What this means in turn is that the parties (CBC/Radio-Canada and the four bargaining units concerned by the application) must now reach agreement on a new structure within the timeframe of 90 days stipulated by the CIRB, or refer the matter to the CIRB if no agreement can be reached.
3. What happens if CBC/Radio-Canada is unable to reach agreement with the unions on the new structure after expiry of the time limit set by the CIRB?
The parties will have to go back before the CIRB to present their arguments, after which the CIRB will render a decision on the new union structure.
4. Which bargaining unit(s) will represent employees at the conclusion of the discussion period?
The decision will be up to unionized employees, who will vote on it. The purpose of the discussions between the Corporation and the unions is to agree on the new union structure, not the new bargaining unit(s).
5. Why did you file an application to review the bargaining unit structure at this time?
The broadcasting landscape is no longer what it was in the early 1990s, nor what anyone could have anticipated as recently as the year 2000. CBC/Radio-Canada’s economic and technological environment has changed dramatically since the last bargaining unit structure review back in 1995. A simplfied union structure will allow us to compete more effectively in a highly competitive market and better meet our audiences’ expectations. It will also contribute to an improved work environment and make us more efficient.