Bell averts technician strike

Bell Canada customers need not worry about labour disruptions at their telecom carrier of choice, now that the service provider has hammered out a collective agreement with its 7,000 technical employees.

Bell and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union (CEP) announced on Monday that they had come to a four-year employment agreement that seems to satisfy the workers and the company alike; 85.4 per cent of the workers voted in favour of the deal.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with our technicians through the collective bargaining process,” said Ellen Malcolmson, senior vice-president, operations at Bell, in a statement. “Today’s result recognizes the solid offer we placed on the table.”

“The members obviously thought it was a good deal,” said Joel Carr, CEP’s Ontario administrative vice-president, pointing out that 85 per cent in favour is a strong indication of voter approval.

According to a CEP statement, the union convinced Bell to withdraw certain concessions, and to increase wages by 12.1 per cent over four years. The union also has the option of negotiating pension improvements.

Carr said Bell came through with an offer much improved on the previous offer just one day before the workers were poised to strike. “The whole collective agreement can be arbitrated now,” he said outlining another win for the union.

“We can now all continue to focus on serving customers,” said Malcolmson in the Bell statement.

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