Surveillance of Railway workers - the Degradation of Work

OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Pacific has launched a campaign to legitimize constant video surveillance of its workers, alleging that this measure would improve safety in the rail industry.

The rail carrier explains on a unilingual English website that the current legislation – which allows for the installation of onboard video and voice recorders on locomotives – prevents railways from using the recordings to adopt proactive safety measures. CP adds that legislative amendments would make it possible to prevent accidents and ultimately, maybe even save lives.

"This initiative by management would be used as a tool to intimidate workers and advance a culture of fear under the guise of safety," states the President of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) Doug Finnson. "We intend to take any and all actions necessary to fight this unconstitutional assault on the rights of our members and all workers in Canada because the precedent this would create could have far reaching consequences on the privacy rights of all Canadians."

The TCRC continues to support it's documented position that allows for the installation and use of this technology under the protected status of the existing legislation which safeguards the data for Transportation Safety Board use only. The union views CP's meaningless marketing and lobbying campaign is another attempt by their strongly American influenced management team to weaken laws that protect Canadians and move toward the less restrictive legislative requirements they enjoy in their US operations.

Cockpit audio recorders have been in use in the airline industry for decades, however, safeguards are in place in that industry that do not violate privacy rights and have consensus support.

"Why is this approach good for air transportation but bad for rail transportation?" questions the union leader. "Our members offer their full collaboration when it comes to health and safety, but cameras fixated on them with continuous monitoring for their entire tour of duty will in no way prevent accidents from happening. The real solution is for government to put an end to the self-regulation and commit sufficient resources for inspection, compliance and enforcement of legislation designed to protect the health and safety of workers and the Canadian public."

The fundamental notion of protecting worker's rights to privacy will quickly become meaningless if the government gives in to what the rail carrier is demanding.

The data necessary to continue improving safety performance is all readily available through less intrusive tools already at the railways disposal. Consequently, this attempt to manage operations remotely is disrespectful for workers in an already toxic workplace.

"I invite the federal government to reflect on the impacts of what Canadian Pacific is asking for," concludes Mr. Finnson. "Rail disasters like the one that struck Lac-Mégantic stress the need to more closely oversee the rail industry. Transport Canada must extend its reflection to include existing practices and systemic issues that could be improved before considering anything that would affect workers' right to privacy and strip Canadians of their dignity."

It should be noted that a CBC report sheds very interesting light on the documented disregard for safety displayed by CP managers:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/cp-rail-bc-mountain-train-1.3930258

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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SOURCE Teamsters Canada

For further information: Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations, Telephone: 450 682-5521, Cell: 514 609-5101, Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

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