Journal de Montréal lock-out ends

Unionized journalists take a beating
By Gordon Sova
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 02/28/2011

The 250 employees of the daily newspaper Journal de Montréal have voted 64 per cent in favour of the recommendations of a mediator to end their lock-out.

However, a significant majority of the newsroom staff at the paper will lose their jobs as a result of the agreement. This has been the position of the newspaper’s owner, Québécor, since the beginning of negotiations. The last company offer, turned down in October, called for an 80 per cent reduction in the number of journalists on the paper.

The agreement is for five years. According to Radio-Canada, 62 out of 240 former positions will be spared, 33 of them in the newsroom.

Their union, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, has staked a good deal on the lock-out and members expressed harsh opinions as they emerged from the ratification meeting. They reportedly spoke of the union as having been crushed and the deal as a complete surrender.

An issue in this lock-out, as during the earlier dispute at the Journal de Québec, is the use of news agencies by the employer to replace the work done by journalists. Unions in Quebec want the law changed so this arrangement falls under the replacement worker ban in the Labour Code.

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