Shaw of­fers buy­out pro­gram to 6,500 staff

SHAW TO DOWN­SIZE WORK­FORCE, ES­TI­MATES ABOUT 650 WILL AC­CEPT VOL­UN­TARY PACK­AGES

Lethbridge Herald - - BUSINESS & AG NEWS - David Paddon THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — TORONTO

Shaw Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. has launched a vol­un­tary buy­out pro­gram aimed at 6,500 em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing those at Free­dom Mobile, as part of ef­forts to use more tech­nol­ogy to man­age the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions.

The Cal­gary-based com­pany — which owns Canada’s sec­ond-largest ca­ble TV op­er­a­tion and the coun­try’s fourth-largest mobile phone ser­vice — has sent no­tices to the tar­geted staff and ex­pects about 10 per cent to take the of­fer.

The vol­un­tary pro­gram will be open un­til Feb. 14. De­tails of the sev­er­ance of­fers weren’t an­nounced.

Shaw said its job cuts are part of a multi-year ini­tia­tive that will help it suc­ceed amid tech­no­log­i­cal changes — both in­ter­nally at the op­er­a­tional level and ex­ter­nally in a rapidly chang­ing and in­tensely com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place.

Among other up­dates, Shaw plans to make more use of on­line and smart­phone apps to pro­vide cus­tomer ser­vice, and pro­vide more self­in­stalled ser­vices, the com­pany said Tues­day.

“Our agents in con­tact cen­tres and our tech­ni­cians will still be able to deal with more com­plex ques­tions and sit­u­a­tions, but we are com­mit­ted to lis­ten­ing bet­ter to our cus­tomers and chang­ing our op­er­at­ing model to bet­ter suit their pref­er­ences for ser­vice when they want and how they want it,” Shaw pres­i­dent Jay Mehr said in a state­ment.

“We know our fu­ture suc­cess will re­quire us to be­come a leaner, more in­te­grated, and more ag­ile work­force, which will re­sult in many in­ter­nal changes tak­ing place as we move to­wards be­com­ing a dig­i­tal-by-de­fault or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Dur­ing the com­pany’s most re­cent quar­terly con­fer­ence call with an­a­lysts, Mehr told an­a­lysts that the ar­rival of Ap­ple prod­ucts for the first time at Free­dom — which has been up­dat­ing its net­work to han­dle the iPhone — has trans­formed Shaw’s wire­less busi­ness.

“It does feel like a new busi­ness, start­ing in De­cem­ber,” Mehr said on Jan. 11.

Shaw bought Free­dom Mobile in 2016, trans­form­ing Shaw into the coun­try’s fourth-largest wire­less com­pany, and re­cently told em­ploy­ees of plans to close a union­ized call cen­tre in Wind­sor, Ont., re­sult­ing in the loss of about 130 jobs.

Since 2016, Shaw has con­cen­trated on telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions. It sold the Global tele­vi­sion net­work and some spe­cialty TV chan­nels in to Corus Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in re­turn for cash and shares.

While Shaw now owns a 38 per cent stake in Toronto-based Corus, they re­main sep­a­rate pub­licly-traded com­pa­nies — both con­trolled by the found­ing Shaw fam­ily through its class A shares.

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