MONTREAL, April 4, 2018 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers is denouncing a decision to abandon criminal proceedings against the Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MMA) railway in connection with the Lac-Mégantic train derailment that killed 47 people in July 2013.
"The government was quick to prosecute workers, but it's an entirely different story when it comes to corporate leaders who did not ensure that everything was done to prevent what happened," said Pierre Arseneau, regional co-ordinator for the Steelworkers union (Syndicat des Métallos).
"Now that workers have been severely hard-hit after enduring four years of criminal proceedings, the corporate prosecution is abandoned. The result is that those who are truly responsible get away without facing any formal charges, any prosecution or any judgment."
To date, neither MMA President Ed Burkhardt, nor his administrators, nor his company have had to face criminal prosecution. Yet, in its report on the disaster, the Transportation Safety Board extensively called into question a culture of negligence at MMA regarding safety issues.
"This would have been the opportunity to discuss the federal government's deregulation policies in the railway sector, for which MMA strongly advocated," said Steven Hadden, President of Steelworkers Local 1976, representing railway and transportation workers across Canada.
"But no one is talking about that anymore."
Prior to the Lac-Mégantic disaster, the federal government approved a regulatory change allowing MMA to operate its trains with only one engineer on board. Following the disaster, the practice was prohibited for trains carrying hazardous cargo.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Jocelyn Desjardins, Syndicat des Métallos/USW Communications, 514-604-6273, [email protected]