Petro-Canada violates labour laws - 26 scabs at Montreal refinery



    MONTREAL, QC, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers Union of Canada yesterday released a Ministry of Labour report
showing that Petro-Canada is using scabs, which is illegal in Quebec. "The
violations reported by the investigators show once again that Petro-Canada
never intended to bargain in good faith with its employees. Not content to
throw them out on the street, the company now uses scabs to perform their
work. It's scandalous," said CEP National Representative Daniel Cloutier.
    According to the conclusions reached by the investigators who visited the
refinery in mid-January, at least 26 scabs are presently doing the work
normally performed by the locked-out members. This violates the provisions of
the Labour Code. "We suspected that scabs were doing our work and we believe
that there may be more than mentioned in the report, but this will have to be
debated eventually before the Commission," added Jacques Vanier, President of
Local 175.
    "We have been saying for months that it does not make sense that about
140 persons perform all the work that is normally done by 260 workers. Either
the company is not abiding by the law, as this report indicates, or it is
cutting corners, which would be even worse because it would threaten the
safety of the refinery and of the population," said Mr. Vanier.
    CEP has already taken the various legal measures required to have the
scabs leave the refinery.
    "That such a large company which generated approximately $2.73 billion in
profits in 2007 acts in this way is absurd and incomprehensible," stated
Mr. Cloutier. "Petro-Canada is not only violating the law but also treating
our members like second-class citizens." Indeed, CEP neither understands nor
accepts that the employer has higher expectations of the Montreal refinery
workers when its other refineries throughout the country settled with their
workers without demanding similar concessions.
    Among the information included in the investigation report, CEP-FTQ finds
especially disturbing the hours of work reported, as the data "confirms our
fears about the fact that those who are presently doing our work are
undoubtedly worn out," explained Mr. Vanier. Managers have been working an
average of 72 to 84 hours per week since November 17, 2007. "Some work even
longer hours and this is really alarming since it is well known that fatigue
causes mistakes and accidents," he said.
    It should be recalled that Petro-Canada locked-out its workers on
November 17, 2007. The company is trying to impose monetary conditions,
including the duration of the agreement, that are lower than what has been
negotiated at its Edmonton refinery. On the local level, Petro-Canada is
requiring a series of concessions including the elimination of the position of
the accident prevention representative, a reduction in training time, and
changes to labour mobility rules that would undermine the experience and
expertise of employees in certain key positions, among many others that attack
labour rights.

    CEP represents most workers in the petrochemical sector within Québec and
Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Daniel Cloutier, CEP National Representative,
(514) 891-3289; Marie-Andrée L'Heureux, CEP National Representative, (514)
916-7373

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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