Shaw loses roughly quarter of workforce in voluntary departure program

Roughly 25 percent of the company’s workforce took a buyout

Shaw logo on building

Shaw is set to lose approximately a quarter of its workforce.

According to a February 15th, 2018 media release, approximately 3,300 Shaw employees accepted a buyout as part of the company’s Voluntary Departure Program (VDP).

Not all 3,300 employees will leave the company at the same time. Shaw noted that the company “has control over the timing of the employee departures across the company to ensure they are actively managed through an orderly transition over the next 18 months.”

The VDP was part of the company’s Total Business Transformation (TBT) initiative, launched with the intention of making its customer delivery model “more digital” through online or e-care.

Shaw offered buyouts to roughly 6,500 employees, and only 10 percent were expected to accept the departure package. Additionally, the majority of employees that Shaw designates as “customer-facing” were not offered buyout packages.

When the buy-out offers were first announced, Shaw Communications confirmed to MobileSyrup that it had approximately 14,000 Shaw and Freedom Mobile employees.

According to Shaw Communications president Jay Mehr, the company made the “necessary changes to better serve our customers through a lean, integrated and more agile workforce.”

Mehr also presented the VDP buyouts as a matter of improving the company futures.

“We made the difficult but necessary decision to modernize our wireline and satellite businesses by offering a generous package to those people who helped us build Shaw and chose not to join us in this transformative period of growth,” said Jay Mehr, president of Shaw Communications, in the same February release.

The company expects to incur approximately $450 million CAD in the second quarter of 2018, “primarily related to severance and other employee related costs, as well as additional expenses associated with the TBT initiative,” according to the same February release.

Internal sources who spoke with MobileSyrup after Shaw made public its buyout plan said that the company wasn’t expecting “the uptake in the program and/or the general negative effect it had on staff opinion.”

In a phone call with MobileSyrup, president of the Telecommunications Workers Union Lee Riggs said that employees are currently expressing disappointment with Shaw.

“These are 3,300 good-paying Canadian jobs that are going to be leaving… the communities where people are living,” said Riggs. “Unfortunately, we believe and the organizaiton has indicated that these jobs are going off-shore or going to a self-service model.”

Riggs also stated that there’s still some confusion regarding what precisely Shaw means when it says that the majority of customer-facing employees are exempt from the VDP.

“When the company says customer-facing, what is customer-facing?” said Riggs.

Source: Shaw

Update 15/02/2018 (11:18am ET): Story updated with additional reporting.

Update 15/02/2018 (1:18pm ET): Story updated with additional context.