Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) announced the decision to temporarily lay off approximately 10% of its workforce, largely working in retail and sales roles across the company, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Government leaders across the country have taken significant and necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of Canadians and to limit the spread of the virus. These measures have resulted in dramatic shortages or stoppages of work in specific areas of our business where we have had to make the hard decisions being announced today," said Paul McAleese, president, Shaw. "We value the hard work and expertise of all our employees in helping deliver connectivity to our customers across the country. Unfortunately, these changes are necessary until our business activities resume to more normal levels.
"With our gratitude, we will be providing financial support to affected employees beyond applicable government programs, and we look forward to welcoming them back when business conditions improve," McAleese said.
At this time, Shaw is ineligible for any emergency government assistance programs and will use its own funds to top up government Employment Insurance payments at various levels, depending on employee earnings, and continue to extend benefits and pension contributions for eligible non-unionized employees during the temporary layoff period.
The temporary layoffs will begin April 16, 2020.
"These are challenging times, but everyone at Shaw and Freedom Mobile is well aware that millions of Canadians and their families depend on us to keep them connected. We take this job very seriously," McAleese said. "With the world navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, it's never been clearer how important it is for people to be connected to stay in touch with friends, families and loved ones.
"We continue to see increased usage of our network, and our customers continue to enjoy strong connectivity through our wireless and broadband services," McAleese said. "Our network upgrades over the past few years have put us in a solid position to handle increased traffic."
"We remain committed to supporting our customers with the products and services they need through digital, self-serve and self-install options to ensure they remain connected."