February 23, 2023 06:30 ET | Source: Society of Professional Engineers and Associates
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Feb. 23, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) is calling on SNC-Lavalin to put an end to its flagrant anti-labour campaign, and work with employees to create a positive work environment. As the parent company of Candu Energy, SNC-Lavalin needs to take responsibility for an ethical and constructive workplace. “We continue to see Candu Energy employ an American style anti-labour approach that is demoralizing, invading worker’s privacy, and retaliatory,” says Staff Representative Denise Coombs. “We believe this puts CANDU technology at risk as prospective customers look for suppliers that have a strong ethical culture.”
SNC-Lavalin has publicly announced that it embarked on a transformative journey following the widespread unethical practices that took place in the company in the past. Yet according to SPEA, that transformative ethical journey needs to be extended to its Candu Energy Division. In fact, Candu Energy is using SNC-Lavalin’s integrity protocols to attack the workplace rights of federally regulated nuclear workers, SPEA claims. SPEA is concerned that Candu President Bill Fox III’s US approach to labour relations has had a demoralizing effect on employees, jeopardizing efforts to retain top-tier talent or to attract new talent at a critical moment in Canada’s nuclear industry.
These allegations come on the opening day of the annual meeting of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) and in a year in which several Canadian provinces are, for the first time in decades, considering expanding their reliance on low-carbon nuclear energy to support widespread electrification.
According to SPEA, Candu Energy has secretly been monitoring SPEA emails for years. Employees have expressed distress and outrage that communications they believed were confidential have been intercepted and reviewed by Candu Energy management.
“In December of 2021, the company declared all internally generated information “confidential” to disrupt the union’s operations and block workers' ability to provide any information regularly used during routine unions business, such as filing grievances or protecting its jurisdiction,” says Staff Representative Michelle Duncan.
According to SPEA, which has filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board, blocking all internal information is unlawful. SPEA claims that as these proceedings have progressed, Candu Energy has retaliated by unlawfully suspending SPEA members as an attempt to intimidate employees. “Candu Energy’s retaliation against employees for exercising their legal rights as union members has resulted in yet another complaint being filed at the Canada Industrial Relations Board,” says Coombs.
“Following years of investigations into orchestrated bribery and corruption, the last thing this industry needs is a company that creates an atmosphere of fear and curtails workplace freedoms,” says Coombs. “SNC needs to extend its focus on ethics and integrity when it comes to relations with workers and their union at its Candu Energy subsidiary.”
The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc- Nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Candu division) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding AECL Chalk River Laboratories). Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.
For further information contact:
Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative