Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bell lays off thousands, posts record profits, CEO Michael Sabia takes 555% pay increase

For the past few weeks, Bell Canada has not left any respite to its employees by making business decisions that put their jobs at stake. The Company is fuelling the insecurity that has been hovering over its offices for some years now.

The offhand closing of the Kingston locality (District 17) is a blatant example.

In early April, Bell indicated that 5% of the calls already being sent to Canadian sub-contractors are now being forwarded overseas where working conditions are poor.

Lastly, the Company just announced that the percentage of Consumer Customer Service calls being outsourced has been increased and could become even higher.

Bell is playing with the issue that is most important for the CTEA: the JOB SECURITY of its members. Our members have a lot of questions. They are worried. They remember having made huge CONCESSIONS during 2005 bargaining. Now, they are entitled to ask what more does it take for Bell to stop making business decisions that are detrimental to its employees.

There are frequent conference calls and meetings between CTEA Vice-Presidents and Bell Representatives. The CTEA’s message is clear: Bell must honour the agreements made during the 2005 bargaining. Moreover, the CTEA attorneys are presently working on the case. Emergency Consultative Meeting The Chairman of the Clerical Bargaining Committee, Line Brisson, wrote to the Company’s Bargaining Committee to demand an emergency consultative meeting to discuss the Company’s recent decisions, and particularly the decision affecting Consumer Customer Service. Mrs. Brisson asked the Company to honour the Memorandum of Agreement on Outsourcing/Contracting Out of the Collective Agreement:

“The parties agree that any differences concerning the interpretation or application of this Memorandum of Agreement shall first be discussed through the consultative process on an expedited basis. In the event that the CTEA is not satisfied that its concerns have been addressed, it may file a grievance at Step 2 in accordance with the terms of the Collective Agreement.”
--Bell Canada Clerical and Associated Employees Collective Agreement, p. 121

The Company Bargaining Committee verbally agreed to meet with the CTEA Bargaining Committee as soon as possible.

CTEA Demands

These decisions recently made by Bell are creating a lot of frustration within the membership and the entire CTEA organization. We keep questioning the Company. We keep insisting on answers. We keep demanding that the agreements made during the 2005 bargaining be honoured.

The CTEA expects Bell Canada to abide by the Memorandum of Agreement on Outsourcing/Contracting Out.

The CTEA wants Bell Canada to meet with its Bargaining Committee before implementing decisions that will have major impacts on the jobs of our members.

The CTEA is asking Bell Canada to provide appropriate and acceptable conditions to members affected by office closures.


Is Bell closing offices, cutting jobs and contracting out in order to give Michael Sabia a generous wage increase?

“BCE Raised Sabia's Annual Pay to C$6.71 Million

April 28 (Bloomberg) -- BCE Inc., Canada's biggest telecommunications company, increased Chief Executive Officer Michael Sabia's total compensation more than five-fold last year as profit rose 23 percent from a year earlier.

Sabia was awarded C$6.71 million ($6 million), up from C$1.21 million, BCE said today in a regulatory filing.

The pay included a C$1.25 million salary, a C$2.2 million bonus that Sabia converted to deferred share units, a ``long-term incentive payout'' of C$3 million and other compensation, the filing shows.

Montreal-based BCE exceeded its sales, profit and cash flow targets last year, posting net income of C$1.96 billion after the company cut costs and increased sales from its cellular phone business. BCE shares dropped 3.6 percent in 2005”.

Source : Bloomberg

We must bring BCE President back to reality!!! Tell Michael what you have sacrificed in order for him to get his pay raise.

Send your email to or your fax to (514) 398-9313.


Mr Sabia,

I have recently become aware that BCE has granted you not only a salary five times higher than your previous annual restitution, but that you have also received millions of dollars in stock options and other benefits.

Meanwhile, Mr Sabia, Bell has made continued job cuts and closed entire districts in order to remain competitive. How, when posting the highest revenues Bell has seen over the last several months and taking such a huge chunk of that revenue for yourself can you justify making cuts to employee rosters because Bell must “remain competitive”?

Mr Sabia, I was recently declared surplus and am currently still unemployed. I, unlike you, did not earn millions of dollars every year. I, unlike you, was barely getting by as it was. How do you justify FORCING employees, who work hard to create the huge revenues that you profit from, to lose their jobs and still take such a huge (five hundred and fifty five per cent increase) in your salary?

My debts are mounting and I have no income. Perhaps, Mr Sabia, you could be generous enough to send me some money to supplement the pittance I will receive as severance pay.

After all, I did my part to help generate the revenues that allowed Bell to post such record earnings; likewise, my being declared surplus along with several thousand of my fellow employees means that you have been able to put a large dollar figure into the “savings” column of Bell’s revenue ledger.

Bell Canada’s employees are the ones who worked hard to allow you that five hundred and fifty-five per cent increase in your salary, Mister Sabia. It seems only fair that you should give something back to the employees who lost their jobs, their pensions and their benefits to earn you that increase.

One of the core values of Bell Canada’s ethical guidelines is mutual respect. We all work for Bell, Mr Sabia, but it seems you have no respect for those who work at the lowest echelons of the company.

As I am also a BCE shareholder, I received an invitation to the upcoming shareholder’s meeting. It is my intention to be there, Mr Sabia. It is my hope that the Board of Directors will tell the shareholders why it is in a time of cutbacks, closures and layoffs in order to remain competitive that you have taken a five hundred and fifty-five per cent increase in your salary.


Steve Karmazenuk


WTL said...

I wonder if the CEO's pay increase is really worth 100 to 200 jobs?

Steve Karmazenuk said...

I'm sure it isn't.

Therefore, it most assuredly isn't worth the three to four THOUSAND jobs that BCE has cut in the last several months.