Manitoba

Bell MTS to shed up to 85 jobs in Manitoba

CBC News has learned Bell MTS is looking to eliminate up to 85 jobs in Manitoba — part of downsizing after the company's recent merger.

Staff have been offered voluntary departure incentives, union says

Bell acquired Manitoba Telecom Services in March 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

CBC News has learned Bell MTS is looking to eliminate up to 85 jobs in Manitoba — part of downsizing after the companies recent merger.

The positions targeted are in areas such as information technology, network services and finance, according to the Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba (TEAM).

"[There is] an awful lot of anxiety," said Robert Linsdell, the union's executive director. 

Bell's recent acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services comes with the duplication of operations and roles in some departments, Linsdell said. 

Robert Linsdell, heads the Telecommunications Assocation of Manitoba, and says Bell MTS are targetting 85 jobs for elimination in Manitoba. (CBC News)

Staff were notified of the plans to reduce jobs May 1 and have been offered voluntary departure incentives for those who apply to retire or leave.

"People don't know what to do. They're asking me what to do," Linsdell said. "For some of them the advice is start polishing up your resume and start looking for a job because the union doesn't have control here."

Bell MTS won't comment on specifics    

Bell MTS would not provide any details on its workforce cuts.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson said, "There will be new opportunities at Bell MTS as we roll out our major broadband investment plan and some departures at both Bell MTS and Bell Canada as we integrate our operations due to duplication in corporate and other roles."

Linsdell said if the reduction quota is not achieved by the end of May, he suspects Bell MTS will begin layoffs.

"With the other reductions we're seeing in Manitoba such as Great West Life and Manitoba Hydro it's going to be a very difficult job market for them to find re-employment," he said. "So it's very concerning."

This is the latest in a string of hits to MTS employees.

Starting in January 2015, about 350 MTS employees were lost due to downsizing before Bell took over, Linsdell said.

It's not clear if more cuts beyond the expected 85 positions are coming, but it's a concern, he said.

"We're hoping that the government here in Manitoba can get on board with this, and that is doing what they can to make Manitoba a place to be bringing jobs," Linsdell said. "We're going to be doing what we can to encourage Bell to bring work here."

CBC News has learned Bell MTS is looking to eliminate up to 85 jobs in Manitoba — part of downsizing after the companies recent merger. The positions targeted are in areas such as information technology, network services and finance, according to the Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba. 1:49