TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper will resume negotiations with unionized workers on Tuesday after they overwhelmingly rejected what the company said was its final contract offer, the union said on Saturday.
Union members, including journalists, sales staff and circulation workers, voted 260-32 to reject the offer, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union said in a statement.
Brad Honywill, president of the union’s Local 87-M, said in the statement that Globe and Mail workers were prepared for a strike if necessary, even though the union has never gone out on strike in its almost 60-year history.
The company, a division of CTVglobemedia, said on Friday it told workers it would implement the terms of its offer on July 1. It said it expected to continue publishing the paper and updating its websites in the event of a strike or lockout.
The union, which represents 450 workers at the national paper, has said the company’s offer included pension benefits cuts of up to 50 percent; salary reductions in some wage categories; a general two-year wage freeze for all employees; longer work days and a longer work week.
The Globe said on Friday it had adjusted its position and is now offering to allow current employees to stay on a defined benefit pension system, though with higher contributions. The company wants others to move to a defined employee-contribution plan.
A spokeswoman for the Globe and Mail could not be reached immediately on Saturday to confirm whether contract talks would resume on Tuesday or to comment on the union’s vote.
CTVglobemedia is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; Torstar Corp, which publishes the Toronto Star newspaper; BCE Inc, parent of Bell Canada; and the Woodbridge Co, an investment vehicle for Canada’s billionaire Thomson family. Woodbridge is also the biggest shareholder of Thomson Reuters.
Many newspapers and media companies have seen their fortunes turn sour as the economy went into recession and advertisers slashed spending.
To cope with the downturn, media groups have laid off staff and sought salary, benefit and other concessions from their remaining employees.
The Globe has not been immune. In January, it revealed plans to cut about 80 jobs through layoffs and voluntary severance.
Reporting by Frank McGurty; editing by Mohammad Zargham