Public broadcaster's funding woes
Media Guild | CWA Canada
Continued financial instability at the
CBC has derailed a joint union-management quest for a temporary
across-the-board measure that would have reduced the job
and programming cuts currently under way.
The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) has been
working since April to develop a measure that would cushion
the blow of the sudden drop in advertising revenue during
the recession. However, it has since become clear that the
public broadcaster's financial future is threatened by more
than the recession.
"In this environment, any contribution by Guild members
to save jobs could not be guaranteed to protect those jobs
even for the current year," the CMG reports.
The CBC is awaiting approval from the federal government
for its plan to raise additional money this year from previous
asset sales. The proposal involves collecting the balance
of the proceeds immediately instead of over the next several
years. CBC's budget for the current year is based on approval
of that plan. Meanwhile, operating costs continue to rise.
Further, the Harper government asked
the CBC to comply with a "strategic review" of
its budget, which could result in a reduction of some $55
million to next year's parliamentary appropriation.
The CBC announced this spring that it would have to cut
800 positions, about 370 of them held by members of the CMG.
CBC management did express appreciation to the CMG and its
members for their willingness to make sacrifices to save
colleagues' jobs. The joint effort continues to find sustainable
alternatives to layoffs of employees whose jobs were made
redundant this spring. Local committees across the country
are using vacant jobs and temporary work to avoid or delay
a number of layoffs.
The CMG continues to press for improved public funding for
CBC/Radio-Canada, which is the only long-term solution to
providing crucial local and national programming in both
official languages on radio, TV and the Internet. Its campaign
website contains an electronic form through which people
can send letters to federal politicians.