Unifor files labour board complaint on Bell’s call for scab labour

Main Image
A group of Unifor members from the Bell Clerical unit.

TORONTO—Unifor filed an Unfair Labour Practice complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and alerted the federal government to Bell’s repeated attempts to undermine workers’ bargaining power with requests for scab labour. 

“Bell clerical members across Ontario and Quebec are united in their demand for better working conditions and job security. The company should work with us to negotiate a fair deal for the times, rather than employing inflammatory, union-busting tactics,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer. “Canada’s workers need a federal anti-scab law now so big businesses like Bell cannot keep diminishing workers’ power.”

In two separate emails to all Clerical staff in the past week, Bell’s senior management made requests of staff to work during a potential upcoming labour dispute. The union filed a complaint with the CIRB on Tuesday July 26, 2022 and notified the federal Labour Minister about this escalation in a letter.     

“It’s no surprise that Bell adopted these hostile tactics in the midst of a cooling off period after decades of aggressive job erosion and outsourcing. These tactics show how worried Bell management is that workers are finally ready to say enough is enough. Workers still want to negotiate, and Bell can’t break us,” said Daniel Cloutier, Unifor Quebec Director. 

Workers are seeking a fair pay increase, continued work-from-home conditions, and an enforceable floor of employment in the bargaining unit. Some clerical members spoke out about bargaining issues in videos released ahead of the strike vote.

On June 21, 2022, Bell Clerical members voted in favour of strike action. Approximately 4,200 workers in the clerical bargaining unit perform clerical and other duties, and live and work across Ontario and Quebec.

Bell clerical and associated workers are represented in Quebec by Unifor Locals 6000, 6001, 6002 and 6003, and in Ontario by Unifor Locals 6004, 6005, 6006, 6007, 6008 and 37. All locals are represented in the bargaining caucus.

The union has repeatedly criticized Bell for engaging in concerted efforts to downsize the bargaining unit through attrition, contracting out, automation and other forms of erosion.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Sarah McCue at @email or 416-458-3307 (cell).

For French interviews, please contact Unifor Quebec Communications Representative, Véronique Figliuzzi at @email or 514-212-6003.