Closure avoided at Expertech: Technicians ratify the tentative agreement

    MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - 79.4% of Expertech's technicians,
members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP),
have approved the tentative agreement concluded less than two weeks ago. As a
result, the closure of Expertech is avoided.

    Here are a few of the negotiated elements:

    - a 5-year collective agreement;
    - minimal salary losses for class ii  technicians with a wage freeze and
      2% raise in the last year;
    - salary raises of 8% over 5 years for the class I technicians
    - an agreement which guarantees that 90% of Bell's work will be given out
      to Expertech technicians thus securing jobs at Expertech ;
    - The 300 intended layoffs have been avoided thanks an improved pension
      incentive (200 workers affected) and the reassignment of 125
      technicians on a Bell network preventative maintenance project.

    In total, 1025 jobs will thus be saved in Québec and Ontario. Some
concessions had to be made in order to save these jobs. But, compared with the
two previous offers, which had been rejected by members, the tentative
agreement contained improvements.
    "My main priority was to avoid the closure and save jobs but not at any
price," commented John Edwards, CEP Ontario Administrative Vice-President "It
is clear, we had our backs to the wall with little room to manoeuvre, but the
fact is that we succeeded in saving jobs and obtaining improvements to the
prior offers," explained John Edwards.
    The parties had been bargaining since last fall for the renewal of the
collective agreement. At the end of February, when workers rejected the
company's offer for the second time, Expertech started the closure process. A
few days later, after a last chance bargaining blitz, the CEP, and the
company's shareholders came to a tentative agreement.
    Expertech's workers are responsible for the installation, maintenance and
repair of Bell Canada's network infrastructure.

    The CEP is the major Canadian union representing telecommunication
workers, and has150,000 members across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: John Edwards, CEP Ontario Administrative
Vice-President, (416) 606-2595

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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