BURNABY, BC, Aug. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The union representing workers at
Mount Polley mine is welcoming the establishment of an independent
investigation and inquiry into the failure of the mine's tailings pond.
United Steelworkers District 3 Director Stephen Hunt says that the
inquiry is an important step to ensuring public confidence in mining,
including the mines and communities where Steelworkers across the
province work and live.
"Our union was immediately on the ground, responding and supporting all
of those who have been affected by the tailings pond failure. Mount
Polley is not only where our members work, but the surrounding area is
where our members live and raise their families," says Hunt. "We
remain concerned about the failure's impact on workers, local
communities, First Nations and the environment."
Hunt says the union wrote to Mr. Al Hoffman, Chief Inspector of Mines,
on August 5, 2014 requesting that the Steelworkers be granted full
standing and inclusion in any investigation as to what occurred. The
union has not received any response.
"It's disappointing that prior to announcement of this independent
investigation and inquiry, our efforts to be included as workers on the
frontline have been ignored. The livelihood of hundreds of families in
the Cariboo region are at stake, and they deserve a voice in what comes
next," Hunt says.
Hunt noted concerns from members and the surrounding community about
impacts from job losses and the union is working to ensure laid-off
members are employed in any cleanup, reclamation or rehabilitation
"Steelworkers have been long concerned about the combination of both
regulation of the mining industry and promotion of the industry under
one roof in the Ministry of Energy and Mines," says Hunt. He called on
the government and all stakeholders to review the current regime and
place worker health and safety and environmental regulation under the
purview of WCB and the Ministry of Environment respectively.
Later today, August 18, 2014, Hunt will meet with B.C. Minister of Mines
Bill Bennett to discuss the union's concerns.
The United Steelworkers represents over 6,200 miners in British
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Stephen Hunt, Director 604-816-2554
Brad West, USW Communications 604-754-1174