Bell CEO fails to justify mass firings in Heritage Committee testimony


OTTAWA – In his appearance before the House of Commons Heritage Committee, Bell CEO Mirko Bibic failed to justify cutting thousands of jobs while Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) increased their dividends to a record-high $3.7 billion in 2023.

“We heard nothing in today’s testimony that could possibly justify BCE’s firing of more than 6,000 people with one hand while hiking executive pay and shareholder payouts with the other,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The fact that the corporation thought it could take both these actions at the same time shows just how out of touch they are with the Canadian public right now.”

“We know Bell can’t possibly believe cutting thousands of jobs will improve telecommunications services to customers and strengthen local news media across the country. Yet, that is exactly the message they tried to sell. No one is buying this alternate math. Workers, customers and all Canadians deserve better than corporate spin from a telecommunications giant like Bell.”

Unifor vehemently refutes statements by Bibic implying that the union agreed with the company to make the job cuts.

“I want to be very clear because facts do matter. It is blatantly false that Unifor was in any way, shape or form in favour or agreement with Bell’s deplorable decision to fire thousands of workers,” said Payne. “For Bell’s CEO to infer as such is outrageous, deceptive and delusional.”

The Bell CEO was grilled by MPs about BCE’s mass firings, increased dividend payouts, lucrative executive pay increases, service cuts, and, notably, whether the company properly followed federal labour regulations. Bibic received numerous questions as to whether Bell provided the appropriate 16 weeks notice to the government before the company terminated 4,800 workers in February 2024.

“Faced with legitimate questions about the thousands of jobs sacrificed, Mirko Bibic is simply like a broken record, ignoring the urgent call for transparency and accountability,” said Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier.

“Workers deserve better than repetitive, evasive answers. The CEO has clearly failed to justify the major job cuts. It seems that greed is the only obvious explanation behind these actions.”

Unifor is anticipating and will be closely monitoring the Bell shareholders meeting on Thursday, May 2.

“We call on shareholders to hold Bell executives and board members to account and to ask tough questions about these callous decisions,” said Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier.

Unifor represents more than 19,000 telecommunications workers at BCE and its subsidiaries. The union also represents more than 2,100 members at Bell Media.

The union launched its “Shame on Bell” campaign in response to last month’s announcement that BCE is callously eliminating 4,800 jobs, including 800 Unifor members in telco and media.

Earlier this week, Unifor launched a new Meet the Board page to show the faces of the privileged corporate elite, made up of mostly wealthy men, behind the decision to gut BCE’s workforce.

Find more info on Bell job cuts, profits and dividend payouts here.