RCI jobs eliminated, immigration mandate set aside

Last week was tough for Radio Canada International employees as we finally found out the impact of the $500,000 budget reduction because of the station leaving Sirius Satellite Radio. RCI’s new director Helene Parent had warned employees back in February (See Update from the new RCI Director ) that because of the drop in revenues, cuts had to be made.

Last Monday, May 16, she individually spoke to each employee that was cut. Then the next day in a public meeting with employees she announced that seven (7) contractual positions, mostly researchers, would be eliminated. She explained that she did not cut back all the contractual positions that had been created by the Sirius increase in revenue, and the longer duration of programs. She announced she was keeping one position extra in each language section so that there was manpower to work on more web oriented content.

She also announced that as of June 27, the English and French daily programs, The Link and Tam Tam, would be reduced from two hour, to one hour programs. And that all the one hour language programs, would be reduced to half hour programs. Untouched would be the English and French weekend programs.

She was asked about how many RCI employees had taken a special retirement package, but preferred not to name the exact number, saying it wasn’t totally official yet. But it’s clear that at least four employees, and probably five in total took the package. A retirement package that offered a bit more money to eligible employees than normal. And it also eliminated those jobs permanently from RCI’s staff. What this means is that RCI has five fewer permanent staff positions. (This retirement package was offered across all of the domestic English and French networks.)

Two days later, on Thursday, May 19, Helene Parent held two meetings with staff to outline her vision of RCI until 2013. She first reminded everyone of the Order-in-Council that outlines RCI’s obligation to raise awareness of Canada abroad. She very quickly also said that the immigration mandate of talking to future immigrants abroad or to those already in Canada, would no longer have a central role in RCI programming.

As she did in the past, she emphasized the increasing importance of the Internet and the RCI website, while admitting that the present website has serious problems. She outlined a comprehensive list of ways RCI could interact with listeners and web users. And she suggested there should be more collaboration between RCI and the domestic English and French networks – CBC and Radio-Canada.

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Article by Admin RCI Action

Admin RCI Action: Wojtek Gwiazda is the spokesperson for the RCI Action Committee which is supported and funded by the union that represents almost all RCI employees: the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC). E-mail: rciaction@yahoo.ca Read 79 articles by Admin RCI Action
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