Friday, September 30, 2005

CBC LOCKOUT AT CRITICAL STAGE

That's my headline of the hour because, well, Hockey Night in Canada is due back next week and there will be riots across Canada if it gets scrubbed. Already there are rumors flying on the Web that the second game of the double-header will be totally scrapped if this lockout continues and already a lot of people out West are upset about this and inundating the CBC with letters. There you have it, the only thing important to our country is hockey.

While I am a bit surprised the dispute has not been settled yet, I must say that I don't see this labour dispute lasting much longer. A lot of people assumed from the start that this dispute would end about now anyway, and many people on the picket lines are upset and frustrated and want to go back to work. But they don't want to give away the fort either, that's the dilemma. I've been reading a lot of the comments of people on these CBC lockout websites and even though most of the workers are united, I detect many of them starting to buckle and drop their "solidarity forever" routine, largely because they're fed up and need to eat. These aren't NHL players, after all, these are starving journalists. They could go broke if they're out an entire year!

And no, they can't quit, most of them, because no one else is Canada is hiring. They'd have to go work in Qatar for Al-Jazeera! I read that they're starting an English channel and are hiring like mad, but you'd have to be nuts to want to work there with their terrible reputation in the West.

As for management, there are reports of MPs being flooded with complaints from irate viewers demanding action, and also there are reports that the federal government is thinking of back-to-work legislation! People are talking about cutting CBC funding and all that, and that has got to have the management types there worried. That's exactly what's needed in this dispute: a little accountability by the CBC managers to the public that pays their salaries. I personally don't think there will be back-to-work legislation. I think it's just a threat by the feds to get people serious about getting talks moving, and it seems to have worked. They've been bargaining and negotiating hard as of late. Read Tod Maffin's great lockout blog to see what is happening.

Anyway things seem to be happening. Maybe they'll actually strike a deal before the hockey season starts after all. They'll have to. Canada will be in a total uproar if they don't get a deal done by next Saturday night.

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