MONTREAL — a dozen days of the outbreak of a possible strike to VAT by 800 union members of the FTQ, a call to solidarity is issued to freelancers who are called upon to do the work of employees who may soon disengage.
The AQTIS, the Alliance québécoise des techniciens and technicians of image and sound, which represents 4200 members in the field, invites them to remain in solidarity, in the event of a labour dispute to VAT.
The AQTIS represents camera operators, technicians, hairdressers, make up artists, directors of trays, editors and others who are freelancers.
During an interview with The canadian Press, on Monday, the president of the AQTIS, Alexandre Curzi, recalled the position of the trade union organization : “in the event of a labour dispute, one should not, in our opinion, go to replace workers who are either locked out or on strike”.
Mr. Curzi took care to emphasize that it is “not a word” to its members, as it does not interfere in the conflict, but the statement of a principle recognized trade-union.
“There is no word order to give. Our members are freelancers. So we, we told them that as a union, AQTIS think that replace workers on strike or lock-out, it would be very misguided. But, after that, the people make the decisions that they have to take; these are freelancers,” said Mr. Curzi.
He relates that several of its members were reported to have received offers to perform work for TVA.
“The demands that we are told : it is their offer to be available from the 17th of September, in the event of a conflict. They are told that they are going to be trained. They are offered salaries, which are of considerable benefit, premiums. We also brought back the bonus, if ever the days are cancelled. This is what our technicians who call here tell us,” sums up Mr. Curzi.
But, according to his assessment, as these contracts for VAT does not include “social safety net” — insurance, pension plan and other benefits — such as the contract-type of the AQTIS, they are not as advantageous as it seems at first glance. “The social safety net, we, that is why we are fighting. And they have not,” said Mr. Curzi.
Some 800 workers of VAT are members of the canadian Union of public employees (CUPE) affiliated with the FTQ. They plan to carry their mandate of general and unlimited strike as of September 22, if the negotiation is not progressing in the meantime. The union has journalists, cameramen, office staff, technicians and others.
The station is preparing
For its part, the management of VAT has made it known that she was preparing for the possible release of a strike. And she admits that the recruitment of staff replacement “is well underway”. She ensures that she will be able to broadcast the election night, the 1st of October, despite a possible strike.
“The union threat TVA to use its right to strike. As a responsible company, we need to prepare for a potential conflict-of-work, because no matter what happens, we will be releasing our fall programming. The recruitment of replacement staff is underway. We have begun training teams of replacement for several weeks already”, replied the direction of the broadcaster.