Safety inspectors question CNE safety as strike continues

Strike for safety

TORONTO – OPSEU/SEFPO is questioning how the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) can state that it’s keeping up with inspection demands at the CNE with its frontline inspectors on strike.

OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick points out that normally in the week before the Exhibition opens there are up to a dozen inspectors scrutinizing the rides.

“These inspectors are trained to do this work and they should be on the job doing it now,” said Hornick. “Our members want to get back to bargaining, and back to work keeping Ontario safe. But the TSSA needs to show that it’s willing to find solutions by putting aside this labour relations brinksmanship and getting back to the table to negotiate a fair agreement for our members.”

The 170 inspectors are trying to negotiate their first contract and were forced to go on strike July 21 after the employer walked away from the bargaining table.

The TSSA has said managers are conducting inspection work during the strike.

Cory Knipe, the chair of OPSEU/SEFPO’s bargaining team, notes there are only a handful of supervisors doing the work of a dozen inspectors who usually work the CNE.

“The supervisors mostly work in the office and rarely in the field; any visits to field staff are to review their performance and not the inspection itself,” Knipe pointed out. “Many haven’t done any field inspections for quite a few years. How can the TSSA say the quality of the inspections is up to the level of previous years?”

Knipe wonders about the inspection regime at smaller fairs and exhibitions around the province. He points to a report from the Auditor General in 2018 that recommended the TSSA do random inspections around the province. The TSSA agreed to implement the recommendation.

“I wonder if these random inspections are being carried out by a handful of managers?” Knipe asked. “Seems improbable.”

Hornick says the union has been, and remains ready to return to the bargaining table immediately.

“I’m positive we can resolve this by sitting down and talking,” said Hornick. “It’s the first step to reaching a fair contract for frontline inspectors, and a safer Ontario. So, to the TSSA we say: let’s get back to the table this week and make sure the CNE stays safe and fun for all.”

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For more information: OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick, 416-806-9526
Cory Knipe, OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 TSSA Bargaining Team chair, (905) 775-1090

 

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