Bell terminates workers on virtual group meetings

A man and a woman stand with Shame on Bell signs with a crowd behind them

March 20, 2024


TORONTO – Hundreds of Unifor Bell telecommunications members are being terminated on virtual group meetings today, just a day after Unifor rallied in Ottawa to call out Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE) for cutting thousands of jobs across the country while continuing to rake in profits and increase payouts to shareholders.

“These members have been living in dread of a meeting invite to find out they’ve lost their job since Bell announced the termination of thousands of jobs almost six weeks ago,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The truth is Bell picked a number of heads to roll so it could increase its dividend payout without an actual plan on which jobs and which workers would be eliminated so the terminations are cruelly dragged out.”

Unifor represents more than 19,000 telecommunications workers at BCE and its subsidiaries.

Today notification began to more than 400 telco members in the Bell Clerical Bargaining Unit to inform them that they are being declared ‘surplus’ with some possibly eligible for a retirement incentive.

In one short 10-minute virtual meeting held this morning, a Bell Human Resources and Labour Relations manager, read a notice, without allowing members or the union the opportunity to unmute to ask questions.

After the union expressed outrage, Bell has modified its approach for upcoming meetings.  Union representatives will be identified and people on the group calls will have the ability to unmute to ask questions.

“Our members, who have devoted years of service to this telecoms and media giant, are being repaid with pink slips,” said Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier. “If that’s not beyond shameful, I don’t know what is.”

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.

The mass termination of more than 6,000 workers in the last eight months occurred while BCE continues to rake in profits, reporting a whopping $2.3 billion profit at the end of last year.

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

“Our dedicated, loyal, workers, who are predominately women, will have to explain to their families tonight that they are being let go from Bell for no good reason other than making sure that their shareholders and Board of Directors come first when getting paid,” said Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. 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.