July 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Pierre-Karl Péladeau is distraught in Toronto: his loved ones fear for his safety

Pierre-Karl Péladeau perturbé à Toronto: ses proches craignent pour sa sécurité

Pierre-Karl Péladeau faced a tense situation in Toronto yesterday, raising concerns among his loved ones for his safety.

During the Canadian Telecommunications Summit, where Pelado was one of the speakers, about thirty Videotron employees who have been locked out since October 30 made the trip to Quebecor's boss to be heard.

These members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) attempted to disrupt Pelado's speech by demonstrating loudly outside the Westin conference center.

The protest follows a lockout that affected 214 employees at Videotron in Gatineau, a company owned by Quebecor that, unlike the TVA group, makes most of the profits.

Since August 31, 2020, employees have been locked out for 231 days without an employment contract.

The union's local president, Nick Garneau, emphasized that the negotiations focused primarily on job security rather than wages.

“In 10 years, I want to make sure that my job is still there and not transferred overseas or to a subcontractor” Garneau said.

Videotron management has defended its increased use of subcontracting despite ramping up recruitment efforts as it faces a shortfall of 350 positions in its call centers.

Although talks between management and union members have continued, there has been no significant progress for months, according to striking employees.

The incident in Toronto reflects the ongoing tension between labor and management and highlights the challenges employees face regarding job security in an uncertain economic environment.

Since the end of 2023, it has been difficult for Pierre-Karl Péladeau, with many challenges and contradictions in his companies.

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Between the lockout at Videotron and several layoffs at TVA and TVA Sports, Quebecor's CEO is unlikely to catch his breath.

Although often seen as the “big bad wolf,” Peladue is simply trying to navigate the ever-changing telecommunications field.

Given that he will lose the NHL's exclusive broadcast contract in the summer of 2026 and TVA's crisis of traditional TV even for non-sporting broadcasts, Péladeau has not chosen to lay off 547 employees, or about a third of its workforce. .

The decision affects 300 people working on in-house production, 98 for regional stations and 149 in other areas, including TVA Sports.

The mass retrenchment comes after 140 layoffs last February.

Péladeau justified these measures by citing the need to save the TVA. The financial results show a deficit of about $13 million for the broadcasting sector, compared to $1.6 million last year.

TVA's fiscal deficit, which continues through 2021, is attributed to the proliferation of digital platforms (such as Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+), fragmenting audiences and subscriptions. In addition, increased competition for sports rights and web giants absorbing advertising revenue are making the situation worse.

To respond to this crisis, a restructuring plan was drawn up, including the end of in-house production operations in entertainment, reorganization of the information sector, and optimization of the real estate portfolio.

Shows like The Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs, The Cheater and Vlog will now be produced by independents. The broadcaster will continue to produce current affairs programmes, but around 100 layoffs are planned, mainly at regional stations.

All TVA Group and Quebecor news teams will be housed in the former Journal de Montréal premises, to reduce operating costs. TVA and LCN have organized separate management teams to comply with CRTC licensing conditions.

This major reorganization did not fail to provoke criticism. The TVA Employees Union, which is affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, denied the brutal announcements of the layoffs.

Union counsel Steve Bargone criticized management decisions tied to TVA Sports, which has lost approximately $220 million over eleven years.

Despite this turmoil, Péladeau decided to continue TVA sports operations and honor its contractual obligations with the NHL.

As for the future of the building at 1600, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, which currently houses the TVA studios, Quebecor will discuss it with municipal and provincial authorities to turn it into social housing.

This difficult period reflects the fierce competition and rapidly changing business models facing traditional private channels and the intense and permanent upheavals facing them.

One would have thought that Videotron, Quebecor's main cash cow, would escape these difficulties. However, the recent turmoil will also affect Videotron, which should especially affect Pierre-Carl Peladeau.

A very forceful challenge in Toronto at the Canadian Telecommunications Summit will add to the pain.

A confrontation with locked-out Videotron employees in Toronto is indicative of the growing challenges facing the company.

For Péladeau, finding Videotron, once a stable pillar of Quebecor, at the center of such intense conflicts was surely a blow.

This situation is scary. Péladeau is overwhelmed by a wide range of challenges in the telecommunications sector, where even the strongest companies cannot escape economic disruption and technological change.

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Pelado recognized the need to justify difficult decisions in an effort to stabilize the company. Criticism from the union and internal tensions added to the pressure he was under, making this year the most trying of his career.

Despite his often controversial image, Pelado navigates the ever-changing telecommunications environment.

He is struggling to maintain the viability of his businesses in the face of increased competition, audience fragmentation and the absorption of advertising revenue by web giants.

The survival of Quebecor and its subsidiaries, including Videotron, depends on its ability to meet these challenges while managing the expectations and tensions of its employees.

For Pierre-Karl Péladeau, every decision, every confrontation and every dismissal resonates with the need to find permanent solutions in an ever-changing world.

He may have endless money… we don't want to be in his shoes right now…

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