Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two year lockout of Journal de Montréal journalists ends with 75% losing their jobs

Not with a bang, but a whimper. The ground-down employees of the Journal de Montréal voted on Saturday night to accept the latest offer from their employer, Quebecor Media.
Thereby,comes to an end a two-year struggle after 253 employees were locked out by management. The result is that 63 of the employees will return to work and the remaining 190 will lose their jobs and receive a total of about $20 million in severance (averaging about $105,000 each).
The employees can point to a slightly better deal than one they rejected overwhelmingly in October, which would have seen only 50 jobs. But there is no way to sugarcoat the defeat. According to a story in the Montreal Gazette
Many of the workers exiting the room expressed anger and disappointment at the result of the vote.
"It's a defeat for me, and for my friends," Jessica Nadeau said. "I just can't believe the way this ended. I've been fighting with everything I had. ... It's just ... I don't have the words right now.
"I wanted to keep fighting."
Other employees expressed their sadness at the results, but said they understood that people were tired after two years locked out of work.
It's not clear whether the alternative newspaper Rue Frontenac, started by some locked-out employees, will continue to publish. It is said the paper had reached about 80,000 readers a week during the lockout.
At a committee meeting at the Quebec National Assembly earlier this month, Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau blamed "union intransigence" for prolonging the lockout, accusing the employees of resisting technological change and what he called "a tsunami" sweeping the newspaper industry.. He welcomed proposed changes to the Quebec labour code and its so-called "anti-scab" provisions.The changes would allow the use of replacement workers and outsourcing jobs.

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