TORONTO, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The union representing 45,000 transportation workers in Canada says that the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) recommendations released today are weak and will not adequately protect the public from future accidents. The TSB's Railway Investigation Report reviewed the Lac Mégantic rail disaster and was to provide guidelines to prevent future loss of life.
"We're very disappointed with the recommendations in the TSB report," said Jerry Dias, Unifor's National President, "Public safety has to be the top priority for rail transport reform. The Board wasted an important opportunity to make our rail system safer." Unifor supports a public inquiry into what went wrong at Lac Mégantic and how it can be prevented in the future.
According to Dias, the union believes the key recommendations of the report—audits and physical mechanisms—put too much emphasis on existing measures that are not effective or enforced. Instead, the union recommended increasing the regularity of full safety and maintenance inspections and closing loopholes that allow companies to seek exemptions to safety rules.
"People die when governments shirk their responsibility to monitor the movement of dangerous cargo. This is not an area where we can afford to cut corners," said Dias. "The bottom line is that our rail safety system needs better enforcement of the rules, and that means more trained professionals on the job."
There have been 10 reported runaways since the Lac Mégantic disaster.
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) or [email protected]