Journal de Montréal management remains open to genuine bargaining
MONTRÉAL, December 16, 2008 – The management of Le Journal de Montréal has repeated its willingness to sit down at the bargaining table or with a conciliator immediately. However, Journal management questions the true motivations of the Syndicat des travailleurs de l'information du Journal de Montréal (STIJM). At a recent press conference, the STIJM, asked the Minister of Labour to name a conciliator, although the current collective agreement expires on December 31, 2008.
Over the past few months, Journal management has repeatedly restated its willingness to arrive at an agreement on a new collective agreement. On several occasions, the union has said it is not available for such bargaining talks, which are vitally important to employees and the employer alike. Management is therefore not surprised to see the union going public, though it was the one that walked away from the bargaining table on November 18, 2008, refusing to negotiate anything.
Parties well aware of the issues
Journal management remains ready and willing to take part in a genuine bargaining with a conciliator. However, the parties are well aware of the issues facing the industry, which are evidenced by the major staff cuts in print media throughout the West and the technological innovations that are revolutionizing newspaper publishing. At its convention in Québec City 10 days ago, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) came to the same conclusion.
The paid-circulation newspaper industry is seeing fundamental changes, including the growing availability of free access to media, shifting readership habits, digital transferability, the advent of real-time information and the changing advertising market. The latest results of Quebecor Media’s Newspapers segment reflect the impact of these developments. Excluding the operating income generated by the Osprey Media newspaper chain, which was acquired in 2007, the segment’s operating income decreased by $8.7 million in the third quarter of 2008, a 17.1% drop from the same quarter of 2007, on a comparable basis.
Management of Le Journal and of Quebecor Media considers these bargaining talks to be key, since they will determine whether Le Journal survives or disappears in the medium term. Management intends to shoulder its responsibilities and still hopes to convince union representatives that action is urgently needed and that they must bear in mind their responsibilities to employees of Le Journal.
Quebecor Media Inc. is a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc. (TSX: QBR.A, QBR.B), a communications company with operations in North America, Europe and Asia. Quebecor Media owns operating companies in numerous media-related businesses: Videotron Ltd., the largest cable operator in Québec and a major Internet Service Provider and provider of telephone and business telecommunications services Sun Media Corporation, the largest publisher of newspapers in Canada TVA Group Inc., operator of the largest French language over the air television network in Québec, a number of specialty channels, and the English language over the air station Sun TV Canoe Inc., operator of a network of English  and French language Internet properties in Canada Nurun Inc., a major interactive technologies and communications agency with offices in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia magazine publisher TVA Publishing Inc. book publisher and distributor Quebecor Media Book Group Inc. Archambault Group Inc. and TVA Films, companies engaged in the production, distribution and retailing of cultural products Le SuperClub Vidéotron ltée, a DVD and console game rental and retail chain and Quebecor MediaPages, publisher of print and online directories.
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Vice President, Public Affairs