Threat of Job Losses

March 5, 2020 - Sisters, brothers, and friends, 

On Thursday, February 20, 2020, we heard Darren Entwistle, Chief Executive Officer of Telus, speak at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings against legislation enhancing Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). We, the workers at Telus, understand his concern regarding the introduction of MVNOs that would be allowed to lease capacity from existing facilities-based carriers and then sell the service to retail customers. After all, it is companies such as Telus that have invested heavily in building and maintaining their networks. The MVNOs would avoid these expenditures and risks, yet would be allowed to profit from them. 

In whatever legislation and regulation the federal government establishes, fairness and Canadian jobs need to be the dominant consideration. 

As workers at Telus, we are also concerned that during Mr. Entwistle’s policy argument he made direct threats to our jobs. At the end of the CRTC hearings he indicated that if the changes being proposed were implemented, Telus could cut 5,000 Canadian jobs over the next five years. 

Mr. Entwistle went further, on Tuesday, March 3, when he held a mandatory telephone town hall meeting with thousands of Telus employees including members of our USW Local 1944 and threatened massive layoffs. 

We feel like pawns in Mr. Entwistle’s regulatory and political game. 

In the call, he praised the amazingly talented people who work for Telus: the talented engineers, coders, technologists, technicians and others. Yet in the same breath, he threatened massive job cuts, including the 3,500 jobs in the Burnaby, B.C., call centre, because of possible CRTC changes and government interference. 

The fact is, however, that Telus is a hugely profitable Canadian company that returns millions of dollars to its investors. Telus also continues to buy up smaller communications companies to grow its presence in the industry. And yet over the last five years it has already cut over 3,700 jobs just in our bargaining unit. These were job cuts from a massively profitable corporation without the existence or threat of MVNOs. Our members want to know why our praiseworthy work resulting in big profits doesn’t result in secure and good jobs. 

We have never been given an answer as to where all these jobs have gone. It’s time for Telus to stop using its “amazingly talented” employees as pawns in its dispute with the CRTC and Ottawa. 

As I’ve heard our National Director Ken Neumann often say: “If you make your money in Canada, keep our jobs in Canada!” 

Mr. Entwistle, don’t use your dispute with government to cover up your lack of concern for our jobs. 

In Solidarity, 

Donna Hokiro 
Acting President 
USW Local 1944 

Read the PDF version here.