Union, TVA strike deal

Pact avoids specter of lockout

A lock-out at Quebec’s largest conventional network, TVA has been avoided after employees voted to accept Quebecor Media’s latest offer – although union members are far from thrilled with the deal, says a spokesman for Canadian Union of Public Employees local 687.

‘The negotiations were difficult. The membership voted in favor, but they made a number of compromises. They were afraid of a lock-out,’ a source told Playback Daily.

Quebecor Media has locked out employees of its tabloid Journal de Montreal since last year.

Roughly 341 members voted 85% in favor of the new, three-year collective agreement at a general assembly last week. The new contract, which covers the period from January 1st 2010 to December 31st 2012 includes a salary increase of a minimum of 1.5% and maximum of 3% depending on the rate of inflation as measured by Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index.

The union, which represents 800 workers at TVA network, LCN and Argent Channels had been fighting to ‘recuperate’ 130 permanent jobs — which have recently been replaced by contract or freelance workers. It also wanted the collective agreement to cover platforms such as cellphones and the Internet.

‘Unfortunately, we didn’t make a great deal of progress on these issues,’ said the source.

The employer did heed to the union’s demand to ensure that TVA Groupe employees continue to have a say in how their pension plan is managed.

Last spring Quebecor appeared poised to lock its TVA Groupe employees after negotiations were abandoned after more than a dozen meetings held, since March and at the former’s request, with the help of a federal mediator.