By H.G. Watson, Managing Editor
About 10 positions will be cut at Vice Canada in the coming weeks as part of a company wide set of cutbacks. The layoffs come shortly after Vice Canada staff joined a union and signed their first collective agreement in May of this year.
Global News first confirmed the lay offs on July 21, 2017, at the Canadian office of the international media company. Chris Ball, head of communications at Vice Canada, confirmed that around 10 positions will be cut, telling J-Source that the cutbacks would occur at a number of different departments.
Ball said that while staff in New York and Europe have already been informed if they are impacted, management will have to go through union processes with Vice Canada’s staff union before layoff notices are issued. “It is also just dependent on that process with the union to determine where the impact actually lands,” Ball said.
Staff at Vice Canada just recently joined the Canadian Media Guild and agreed to their first collective agreement.
According to the Vice Canada collective agreement provided to J-Source, management has to meet with the union at least three weeks before the expected layoff dates and discuss with the union potential ways to avoid lay offs.
In a statement provided to J-Source, Maggie McCaw, CMG Branch President at VICE Media and Kamala Rao, CMG National President, said that their “priority is to ensure CMG members’ rights are respected in accordance with our collective agreements.”
“Canadian Media Guild representatives are in contact with VICE management, obtaining more information about the situation and working to ensure members are treated fairly.”
Variety reported that while Vice is cutting back in some areas, they are expanding in others. “The company is aiming to be operating in more than 80 countries by the first quarter of 2018 and has signed distribution deals with partners worldwide,” reporter Todd Spangler wrote. More coverage will also be folded into the overarching Vice.com umbrella, according to Ball. “A bigger play on video is really where we are going,” he said.
Update, July 27, 2017, 2:32 p.m.:
On Thursday, it was confirmed by Vice News features editor Justin Ling on Twitter that four staff members had been laid off from Vice Canada: Sarah Hagi, a staff writer at Broadly; Tamara Khandaker, a reporter for Vice News; Max Mertens, the editor of Thump; and Amanda Roth, editorial coordinator.
We lost some incredibly good people at VICE Canada today. Our loss should be your gain: Hire them.
— Justin Ling (@Justin_Ling) July 27, 2017
— Josh Visser (@joshvisser) July 27, 2017