Shaw Offers ‘Voluntary Departure Program’ to 6,500 Employees

As part of a plan to adjust and streamline its operations model, Shaw Commutations announced Tuesday (January 30) that is offering a “Voluntary Departure Program” to about 6,500 Shaw and Freedom Mobile employees.

Shaw didn’t disclose the details of the “generous” package, but said the company expects about 10% -- or roughly 650 of them -- to accept it.

The voluntary buyouts, being made available from January 31 to February 14, are being made to nearly half of Shaw’s workforce of about 14,000, according to the Calgary Herald.

"This is a program that is intended to reduce our workforce while not penalizing employees for our operational transformation,” Jay Mehr, Shaw’s president, said in a statement. “As we reinvent our customer delivery model to be more digital, online, or e-care, we're very pleased to offer generous packages to our team members throughout the organization who have built this company.”

Regarding the multi-year initiative to alter its operations, Shaw, Mehr said, has determined that it must make “significant changes” to the way it serves customers in 2018 and beyond. That shift will have Shaw focus more on online and smartphone apps and more self-installed services.

Shaw said more details about the changes will be disclosed as they progress, but expects that they will include “a review and reimagining of every aspect of Shaw's operations and roles, and fewer internal processes.”

One big change has involved Shaw’s new TV service. Branded as BlueSky TV, the offering, launched in 2017, is the result of an X1 syndication deal with Comcast.  

RELATED: Shaw Launches ‘BlueSky TV,’ Powered by Comcast’s X1 Platform

For fiscal Q1, Shaw announced last month that consolidated revenues were $1.25 billion, up 2.7% versus the year-ago period, with net income of $114 million, up from $89 million. However, Shaw’s consumer division saw revenues decline 1.3%, due to lower cable video revenues driven by prior-year promotional pricing flow-through and revenue generating unit losses in the period.

Shaw also posted free cash flow for the quarter of $51 million, down from $158 million, reflecting planned higher capital spending.

Shaw lost about 18,000 residential cable video subs in the period, ending with 1.65 million, and shed about 20,500 residential satellite TV customers, ending Q1 with 753,037.  Shaw added 17,694 high-speed internet customers, extending that total to 1.87 million.