Chinese Workers Scam An Example of How NOT to do Temporary Workers

    CNRL, CLAC, Government All To Blame for Workers Being Shortchanged, Says

    EDMONTON, June 18 /CNW/ - The case of Chinese temporary foreign workers
having their paycheques siphoned is a perfect example of how the TFW program
is out of control, says the Alberta Federation of Labour. The AFL is
responding to a news story in the Edmonton Journal today accounting how
120 workers brought from China were paid a fraction of what they should be
    "Murky Chinese contractors, vulnerable workers, a passive union, an
indifferent employer and an absent provincial government," says AFL President
Gil McGowan. "That adds up to exploitation. This situation could and should
have been avoided."
    McGowan points out that Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) and the
Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), a union that preaches
collaboration and cooperation with employers, made huge mistakes in their rush
to bring the Chinese TFWs into Alberta. CNRL should have insisted that it hire
the workers directly, not through Sinopec, owned by the Chinese government,
says McGowan.
    "The first mistake was allowing the Chinese government to have direct
access to these workers. CNRL had a responsibility to make sure they weren't
    "And CLAC failed in its responsibility to these workers. No mainstream
union would have permitted an arrangement like allowing an employer to have
signing authority on worker bank accounts," says McGowan. "The AFL has
affiliates that deal with TFWs, and they place stringent requirements on what
the employer does with them, and they make every possible effort to build a
relationship with the temporary workers - up to and including running English
classes. CLAC made very little effort, it appears."
    "The problem is that CLAC trusts employers too much, and it results in
situations like this."
    McGowan also points blame on the provincial government. "The government
is asleep at the switch. They are doing nothing to monitor the working
conditions of TFWs or to ensure that their rights are not being violated."
    "The result is that the Conservatives are allowing the importation of
third-world working conditions into Alberta."
    "The problems that led to the Chinese workers being ripped off are the
same conditions that led to the two Chinese workers being killed on the same
worksite. Lax government oversight, a company in a rush to make billions in
profits, and a union that doesn't ask enough questions are all to blame,"
McGowan concludes.

For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, AFL President @ (780) 483-3021
(office), or (780) 218-9888 (cell)

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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