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Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:33 am Post subject: CBC bonuses eyed despite layoffs
CBC bonuses eyed despite layoffs
By ALTHIA RAJ, NATIONAL BUREAU
The Ottawa Sun
As CBC prepares to lay off 800 employees this year, managers are still eligible for bonuses.
The 553 managers -- or 5% of CBC's overall workforce -- are eligible for "incentive pay," but only if they achieve targets, CBC president Hubert Lacroix told a committee of MPs studying the future of Canadian television.
"Is it appropriate for CBC to be spending on bonuses when people are being laid off?" asked Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro.
Under intense questioning by Tory MPs, the head of the public broadcaster repeated that the overall savings from reducing executives' bonus pay by 20% to 50% this year would amount to $4 million. But Lacroix refused to say how much money would be left in the pot for bonus pay.
Lacroix said bonuses are necessary because executive pay is "below market" and CBC used the incentive to "try to bring back our executive pay to a certain level." He said it was "very difficult to keep our senior executive" and pointed out CBC has recently lost four key managers.
Since the public broadcaster is not allowed to make a profit, bonuses are based on targets such as "cost containment measures" and audience ratings, said CBC spokesman Marco Dube.
CBC would not reveal how many managers qualified for performance pay last year but Dube said the majority did.
Of the 800 job cuts announced by CBC, 8% will come from management. The total number of layoffs could be revised if many senior employees accept a "voluntary incentive package."
CBC is offering up to 780 employees, who already qualify for retirement, a year's base pay as an incentive to leave and take their full pension.
Chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge was one of those who received a package offer.
Employees have until the end of the month to respond to the offer. Pink slips are expected to begin at the end of May, though many employees have already been let go, according to the Canadian Media Guild.
Lacroix told MPs the funding model for CBC is "no longer sufficient" to provide all the services Canadians want from their broadcaster
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