Bell Aliant's contract offer shows lack of equity: union votes this week

TORONTO, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Following months of collective bargaining, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, who work at Bell Aliant, are voting on their employer's offer this week.

But the union is concerned by what CEP's Ontario Administrative Vice-President Barb Dolan calls Bell Aliant's "disturbing lack of equity". "Despite record profits," says Dolan, "Bell Aliant is refusing to pay its office employees, who are mostly women, at the same rate of pay as its mostly male technicians."

CEP's Executive Vice-President, Quebec, Michel Ouimet, echoes her sentiments:  "Nowadays, it is simply scandalous to see an employer treat a group of employees, the majority of whom are women, as second-class citizens."

"We are aware that our members have a difficult decision to make," adds Ouimet. He explains that Bell is banking on that insecurity "by presenting an offer that is less advantageous than what was given to the technicians."

The proposal contains some gains, including reclassification of temporary employees to permanent and part-time employees to full-time, an increase in the per diems and of the boot allowance, improvements to bereavement leave, the creation of a higher salary group and protection against outsourcing for all employees.

Meetings are being held today and tomorrow in many parts of Quebec and Ontario. Results of the vote will be released, March 28th.

Negotiations began last October. The collective agreement expired, May 31st, 2012. CEP represents more than 140 office employees, of whom 100 are in Ontario and 40 in Quebec.

CEP is Canada's largest telecommunications union, as well as the largest in both Ontario and Quebec.

SOURCE: COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

Barb Dolan (416) 998-3954

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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