Steelworkers' Campaign For Safer Workplaces Takes Step Forward in Nova Scotia

TORONTO, July 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers' (USW) campaign for improved workplace safety and enforcement of the Westray Law is gaining momentum with the Nova Scotia government's decision to hire a Special Prosecutor for workplace safety investigations.

"This is an important step forward for workplace safety," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. "Our union is campaigning across Canada for better enforcement of the 2004 amendments to Canada's Criminal Code that are supposed to hold corporations, their directors and executives accountable for workplace death and injury."

Earlier this year a delegation of Steelworkers met with provincial and federal officials in Nova Scotia to press for immediate action.

"Nova Scotians lived through the Westray disaster and they understand first-hand the importance of ensuring criminal prosecutions in the case of workplace negligence. Our message is being heard and our campaign is working," Neumann said.

The Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law campaign is gaining support across the country, with endorsements from municipal councils, police associations, aboriginal groups, family groups and others. The campaign focuses on ensuring that dedicated Crown attorneys are trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments, with greater coordination among safety agencies, police and Crowns.

"We call on all provinces and territories to do the right thing and ensure that all workers are protected and all employers are held accountable," Neumann said.

More than 1,000 workers are killed at work every year, but only a handful of criminal charges have been laid and most have ended with plea bargains and/or fines, he noted.

Details on the Stop the Killing campaign, including video testimony from families who have lost loved ones, can be found at www.stopthekilling.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca