The Saint John Seven strike continues

Rally planned in support of radio station employees

The Saint John Seven sounds like a band you might hear on the radio. In reality, it’s the name of a group of seven radio station employees who have been on strike for more than 17 months in Saint John, N.B.

Represented by the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the Saint John Seven went on strike in June of 2012 after talks with their employer MBS Radio Saint John fell apart.

A rally is planned for Dec. 13 in support of the workers, who are facing their second holiday season on the picket line.

“Without the support not only of our own union CMG, and the general support of the union movement in Saint John and in Canada, we would not have been able to sustain such a fight,” said Gary Stackhouse, president of CMG at MBS Radio Saint John.

The seven on-air and support staff — working at the Big John FM, K-100 and CFBC stations — joined the union in the spring of 2011 and began talks with MBS to sign their first collective agreement. After almost a year of negotiations, the two parties could not agree on rates of pay and the Saint John Seven began labour action.

According to the union it has been 12 years since across-the-board wage increases were implemented at MBS.

“Our members at Saint John had been working under appalling conditions and barely making minimum wage, and we salute their resolve and resilience,” CMG president Carmel Smyth said in a statement. “We are also encouraged that their story has struck a chord across the country reminding many of their right to decent working conditions and a living wage… As always, we are ready to return to the bargaining table at any time for serious discussions to bring an end to the strike by negotiating a fair collective agreement.”

CMG represents 6,000 workers across Canada.

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