Bell Canada workers reject contract offer

About 5,000 Bell Canada technical employees, or about 11% of the company's total workforce, followed their union's advice and voted down a proposed new four-year contract. The union could now call a strike, though it reportedly wants to continue negotiations with telco management. Bell Canada's newest contract offer proposed 2% annual pay hikes for the three years, followed by a 1.75% raise in December 2010, but the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is concerned those raises won't keep pace with inflation. Moreover, they are against a Bell Canada proposal to allow the company more flexibility in scheduling working hours for its technicians, so that they would work fewer hours during down periods, and more hours during busy periods, but often without overtime pay.

Bell Canada referred to the contract as a final offer, but said it will evaluate next steps. The telco is being acquired by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and two private equity firms for more than $51 billion.

For more:
- read this report at Toronto's Globe and Mail

Related article:
- The Bell Canada acquisition is scheduled to close during the second quarter