Canadian telecommunications giant lays off employees

The Bank of Canada has issued a warning, stating that Canada is currently grappling with a productivity crisis

Bell is Canada’s one of the largest telecommunications companies / Facebook @BellCanada

Canadian Telecommunications company Bell laid off more than 400 workers in brief virtual group meetings, as reported by Unifor, the union representing the affected employees. Unifor criticized the impersonal manner of the terminations as "beyond shameful" in a press release. The dismissed workers, some of whom had served at Bell for several years, were informed of their "surplus" status during 10-minute video calls.

Unifor, which represents more than 19,000 workers at Bell and its subsidiaries, stated that its members have been apprehensive about receiving meeting invites since the announcement made in February.  "The truth is Bell picked a number of heads to roll so it could increase its dividend payout without an actual plan on which jobs and which workers would be eliminated so the terminations are cruelly dragged out," said Lana Payne, Unifor National President, in the union's press release.

The organization alleged that a manager read a layoff notice without permitting employees or union representatives to ask any questions. "Our members, who have devoted years of service to this telecoms and media giant, are being repaid with pink slips," said Daniel Cloutier, Unifor's Quebec director, in a statement.

The Bank of Canada has issued a warning, stating that Canada is currently grappling with a productivity crisis. Carolyn Rogers, the senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, emphasized the urgency of addressing this issue to safeguard the economy against potential inflationary pressures stemming from factors like the retreat from globalization.

“An economy with low productivity can grow only so quickly before inflation sets in. But an economy with strong productivity can have faster growth, more jobs and higher wages with less risk of inflation,” she said in a Mar. 26 speech in Halifax, adding that other drivers of inflation will include changing demographics, the economic impact of climate change and global tensions.

Rogers highlighted a concerning trend in Canada's productivity, noting a decline from 88 percent of the value generated by the US economy per hour in 1984 to only 71 percent in 2022. This decrease underscores a persistent issue of weak investment in Canada over the past five decades. Additionally, the disparity between capital spending per worker by Canadian firms and their US counterparts has widened over the last decade.