TORONTO, March 17 About 5,000 technicians at
BCE Inc (BCE.TO) are in strike position after rejecting a
contract offer from Canada's biggest telecom company, their
union said on Monday.
The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
"now has a strike mandate, meaning that a work stoppage is
legally possible upon 72 hours notice by either side," it said
in a statement.
It also said it has contacted BCE about resuming bargaining
talks as soon as possible. The employees work in the provinces
of Ontario and Quebec and voted 88 percent to reject the labor
deal, the union said.
"Our goal is to negotiate a fair deal for our members and
to avoid a strike or lock-out," said CEP president Dave Coles.
In a separate statement, BCE said it was disappointed its
four-year offer was rejected. It said the proposed deal
included annual wage hikes, and preserved pension, benefits and
"It also included changes to the previous collective
agreement to reflect changing customer expectations," the
company said, without giving details.
It said it is ready to enact backup plans if needed and is
evaluating its next steps.
BCE is in the process of being sold to a group of
private-equity investors led by the Ontario Teachers' Pension
Plan in a C$34.8 billion ($34.8 billion) buyout.
(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)