Canadian telecom giant Bell has reportedly laid off more than 70 technicians after outsourcing their work to a private contractor.
As many as 76 technicians in Quebec and Ontario have received severance notice, according to Unifor, Canada’s largest labor union in the private sector.
The layoff comes a month after Unifor revealed that the telecom company had slashed the working hours of the technicians, who maintain the company’s telecom network and services to businesses and homes in the Canadian provinces.
The labor union has long been critical of Bell, accusing the telecom company of ignoring the rights of employees.
“By issuing layoff notices with one hand and contracting out work with the other, Bell is continuing its long history of job erosion at Bell Canada,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s president. “The launch of a program like Wireless to the Home should be good news for people who work at Bell, but instead the company chose to exclusively hire non-union contractors.”
The technicians facing the axe played a key role in Bell’s ‘Wireless to the Home’ program, designed to bring high-speed wireless internet to rural Canada.
The telecom firm similarly hit headlines three years ago when it laid off more than 200 people at its call center in Montreal’s West Island, allegedly outsourcing customer service to the Philippines.
It was necessary to close down the call center, the carrier told CBC News in an email, adding that very few people were making use of the contact center.