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Logo for Readers Matter campaign
Montreal Newspaper Guild
fights CanWest's outsourcing of jobs
to company facilities outside Quebec.

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Outsourcing customer service 'fatal' for business

Renowned Canadian entrepreneur Leonard Lee, founder and owner of Lee Valley Tools, in an interview with the Globe and Mail's Gordon Pitts:

What bothers you about the way business is conducted now?

"What I find most amazing is watching Canadian and American businesses farm out their customer service. You might as well put a gun to your head and pull the trigger."

Why?

"Because the [call centre workers] don't know your business and they don't know the culture. When you've farmed out customer service, you've lost the connection with the customer, and you will eventually die a horrible economic death."

But you're only a $100-million company and these are billion-dollar enterprises that feel they have to outsource.

"Yeah, and they have a lot farther to fall. It will happen. This is where the competition comes in — they will just provide the service. ..."

Gazette employees are fighting to preserve a vibrant English-language daily newspaper produced in Montreal to serve Montrealers.

The Gazette’s owner, Winnipeg-based CanWest Global Corporation, is moving more and more of The Gazette’s editorial and customer-service operations out of the province in violation of the employees’ collective agreements. Now, in contract negotiations, CanWest is demanding the removal of impediments to outsource any remaining work outside of Quebec in order to facilitate layoffs in Montreal.

These moves threaten to diminish Canada’s diversity of voices, whittle down local input and stifle The Gazette’s vital role of covering local news and reflecting Montrealers’ values, concerns and culture. The Gazette has been a proud Montreal institution since 1778 and its readers deserve better than CanWest’s plans to further downsize, centralize and outsource to maximize profits.

The newspaper is operated by CanWest, however it is the public that will ultimately decide whether it will tolerate a “local” newspaper produced elsewhere. Gazette staff are appealing to the Montreal community to tell CanWest to keep the “Montreal” in the Montreal Gazette.

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