MONTREAL, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Locked out Petro-Canada workers
presented a petition with more than 5,000 signatures on it to Montreal City
Council and the Quebec National Assembly yesterday. It asks the government
bodies to ensure that the refinery is operated safely.
"People were even lining up to sign our petition," says Jacques Vanier,
President of CEP Local 175, which represents the workers. "We collected these
signatures in just six days by going to the shopping malls of Eastern
This spontaneous and massive support shows how worried the population is
to see that the Montreal refinery, where the workers have been locked for
seven months, is being operated by people who do not all have the training and
experience required or by strike-breakers. The operations performed at this
refinery are extremely delicate because highly toxic and inflammable products
are handled. And the level of fatigue is worrisome since people have been
working long hours without breaks since the dispute started.
Essentially, the text of the petition asks the National Assembly of
Québec and the City of Montreal to make sure that the refinery is operated
safely, including regular checks on the people who work in it in the presence
of a union representative.
Contempt for the law, intimidation and interference in union affairs
Since November 17, Petro-Canada has been reprimanded on a few occasions
by the Québec Labour Relations Board (LRB), including for using scabs in
contravention of the Labour Code. More recently, the Board found that
Petro-Canada had acted illegally by trying to intimidate workers by contacting
them directly and threatening to close the plant if they did not accept the
company's offers and interfering in union business by discrediting the Local
President. "From the outset, Petro-Canada has been breaking the law. It is
completely unacceptable and nonsensical that a company with such profits
doggedly defies the law", said Mr. Vanier.
A fair settlement and the return of the workers are the best recipe for
For CEP, the best way to ensure safety in the refinery is to make sure
that Petro-Canada complies with the decisions of the LRB by accepting to
bargain in good faith in order to renew the collective agreement. "Because the
return to work is certainly the best way to ensure the safety of the
facilities", concluded Mr. Vanier.
For further information:
For further information: Jacques Vanier, President, CEP Local 175, (514)
220-5146; Daniel Cloutier, (514) 891-3289