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Jan 30, 2018

Shaw offering buyouts to 6,500 staff amid major company overhaul

Shaw Communications offering mass voluntary buyouts to employees


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Shaw Communications (SJRb.TO) is launching a massive voluntary buyout program as part of a restructuring the company calls a “total business transformation” that aims to re-focus and streamline its operations.  

The cable and telecom company confirmed the restructuring plans in a press release Tuesday after BNN reported the buyouts, citing an internal memo.

In a statement, Shaw said about 6,500 employees have been offered the package – including workers at Freedom Mobile which the company bought in 2016. About 10 per cent are expected to accept the offer. Shaw had approximately 14,000 employees as of the end of August.

The memo to Shaw staff says employees who are eligible for a buyout will receive an email on Jan. 31. They will have until Feb. 14 to decide whether they choose to accept the severance package and leave Shaw.

Shaw may impose further restructuring efforts, including layoffs, after the completion of its buyout program, according to internal documents obtained by BNN.

Employees are being offered six months plus one additional month for every year of service as part of the buyout package, according to an internal document obtained by BNN. The pay will be distributed at either the higher of either the employee’s 2017 earnings or an average of the employee’s earnings over the last three years and will be capped at a maximum of 30 months.

The offer will not be made available to unionized employees, temporary contract employees, consumer-facing retail, sales or customer care employees and their direct leaders or those with tenure of six months or less as of Feb. 14, 2018,according to the document. 

“People are increasingly choosing to not buy our industry’s legacy product offering, and people no longer want to interact with companies the way they used to — and this is especially true in our category. In the midst of these dramatic changes driven by our customers and technology, we have a critical opportunity to redefine all aspects of our operating model — from how we deliver products and services to how we manage our business,” the memo says.

“This one-time offer is designed to motivate Shaw employees to think critically about their future with our company, and make realistic decisions about their role in Shaw’s evolution.”

Shaw said in a press release that the company’s multi-year overhaul aims to streamline its internal processes, and shift customer services online through apps and self-installed services. 

“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,” Shaw president Jay Mehr said in a statement. 

Shaw recently announced plans to close a Windsor, Ont. call centre, which resulted in about 130 job losses.

With files from BNN's Tara Weber