Hundreds of Bell Employees Laid Off in ‘Shameful’ Virtual Meetings

Telecommunications giant Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE) is facing backlash over how it conducted recent layoffs. The company terminated more than 400 employees over virtual group meetings. According to Unifor, the union representing the affected workers, managers simply read out layoff notices to employees on video calls without allowing any opportunity for questions.

“Our members, who have devoted years of service to this company, are being repaid with pink slips in a shockingly impersonal manner,” stated Daniel Cloutier, Unifor’s Quebec director. “If that’s not beyond shameful, I don’t know what is.”

The latest cuts are part of Bell’s previously announced workforce reduction of around 4,800 jobs, or 9% of its total employees — a decision that drew widespread condemnation as it came alongside increased dividend payouts for shareholders.

After Unifor raised objections to the virtual termination process, Bell agreed that union representatives would have to be present, and workers would be able to unmute themselves to ask questions during the calls.

Lana Payne, Unifor’s national president, criticized Bell’s handling of the layoffs. “Bell picked a number of heads to roll so it could increase its dividend payout without an actual plan on which jobs would be eliminated, so the terminations are cruelly dragged out,” she said.

This is not the first time Bell has terminated employees via impersonal virtual meetings. In 2021, some Bell Media workers received the news of their job losses in similarly brief video conference calls.

The union, which represents over 19,000 Bell employees across its subsidiaries, held a rally in Ottawa this week protesting the layoffs and calling out the company for postponing scheduled parliamentary hearings on the job cuts.

Unifor has also launched Shame on Bell, a petition that demands the company to 1) cease contracting and offshoring work, prioritize local employment and support Canadian workers, 2) stop slashing newsrooms and invest in local journalism to ensure accessible and diverse coverage for communities, and 3) reduce dividend payouts to prioritize reinvestment in employee well-being, job security, and infrastructure development.


Information for this story was found via the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

2 thoughts on “Hundreds of Bell Employees Laid Off in ‘Shameful’ Virtual Meetings

  • March 21, 2024 6:22 PM at 6:22 pm
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    Bell being a terrible company and not letting their now former employees talk? Bell, let’s talk…

    Reply
  • March 21, 2024 3:34 PM at 3:34 pm
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    In the early 2000 Bell offered an unlimited long distance plan for Canada. During this time I was living in Ontario and my mom in Quebec and I was going through a trial against a paedophile from the “sperm doner” (I’ll never use the word father!!). So my mom and I signed up for this plan as we needed to be in constant contact not just with each other but lawyers etc……..guess what in the fine print it stated that you were only allowed so many minutes and half way through the first month my mom and I were cut off from each other. Eventually Bell was taken to court and definitely lost their case!!! You could not pay me to use Bell!!!

    Reply

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