TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2018 /CNW/ - Unifor is concerned about the continued erosion of local news as Corus-owned Global News cuts nearly 70 jobs across Canada.
"Fewer journalists will be out gathering news from every region from Vancouver to Halifax and if the Maritime newscasts now come from Toronto - how can you still call that local news?" asked Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Camera operators, reporters, anchors, control room staff, make-up artists and other production crew received layoff notices in newsrooms across Canada, with Global's most successful station in Vancouver taking the biggest hit with 21 job cuts.
"In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the evening local news will no longer be produced at our Halifax studios and will be anchored and broadcast from Toronto starting Monday," said David MacPherson, President of the Maritimes unit of Unifor local M1 which represents workers at Global. "Our studios will be empty after the morning show ends at 9 am."
While Corus says it will post several new "digital" positions that focus on online news, its broadcast revenues continue to shrink and the outlook is bleak if the government doesn't take action now.
"The federal government stood by while Canada's local newspapers struggled and now our members in TV news are being asked to do more to fill the same number of programming hours with fewer resources, all on this government's watch," said Dias. "The CRTC paved the way for the cuts announced today by watering down the obligations for big media companies like Corus to protect local news and it's proving disastrous."
Broadcasters in Canada are obligated to air local TV news as a condition of license but last year the CRTC softened requirements that they maintain historical levels of programming, and decided not to set rules requiring "feet on the street" coverage, leaving media companies free to cut local news jobs over the term of their five-year broadcasting licenses.
Unifor is asking the CRTC to review local news and make strong local coverage a binding condition of license, before it's too late, as part of the union's ongoing #savelocalnews campaign.
Unifor is Canada's largest media union with 12,000 workers across Canada. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: Unifor National Communications representative Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9283 (cell).