"Bad Connection" - Winnipeg Free Press - IBEW 435

"Bad Connection" - Winnipeg Free Press

Bad connection
Unions blame job cuts, not weather, for shoddy Bell MTS landline service
By: Chris Kitching | Friday, May. 27, 2022

The union that represents Bell MTS technicians says years of job cuts and inadequate maintenance are fuelling landline outages that last weeks or months and frustrate customers across Manitoba.

Joe Breland, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 435, said there has been a "slow decline" since the Progressive Conservative government of Gary Filmon privatized MTS in 1997, breaking an election promise.

Breland said the decline has continued under Bell MTS, and both companies share the blame for landline disruption, which has escalated during an extremely wet spring.

"It’s not just Bell, but over the years the company has not maintained (the copper telephone network) at the level we feel it should have," he said. "The company has been placing a Band-Aid on the copper (network) since 1997. The decline in customer service is directly tied to the reduction in employees in all unions."

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