December 19, 2012, Montreal
Over the past few weeks, CBC/Radio-Canada has appeared before the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to explain why it feels its union structure in Québec and the City of Moncton needs to be reviewed. The hearings are an important step in the review process undertaken by the Corporation in May 2012. Various witnesses have appeared, including French Services Executive VP Louis Lalande.
The competitive and technological environments in which the public broadcaster operates have completely changed since the late nineties. Emerging technologies have spawned a technical production revolution, causing a major shift in work methods and the way we use material resources. Providing concrete examples, CBC/Radio-Canada witnesses demonstrated how this radical digital transformation in content production and delivery has affected definition of job functions and blurred the divisions between various bargaining units on a daily basis.
The media has also evolved considerably. The rise of specialty channels has drained almost half of TV audiences. Webcasting has further fragmented the market. These factors as well as New media consumption habits and the propensity of the competition to distribute their own content have forced CBC/Radio-Canada to become much more flexible.
All these changes have also had a significant operational impact. If it wants to remain competitive, CBC/Radio-Canada must inevitably optimize human, material, and financial resources. Company management has represented before the CIRB that its existing union structure does not favour flexibility nor the agility provided by evolving production technologies. Furthermore, it has shown that work climate as well as employee development is affected by the current structure.
In February and March 2013, the company will resume its appearances before the CIRB in Montreal to give further evidence that its union structure is in need of review. Starting in April, the four bargaining units will then have the opportunity to present their respective positions.