SPEA: Canada's nuclear industry in jeopardy as SNC-Lavalin faces potential strike

Source: Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA)

SNC-Lavalin faces more bad news as the union representing the majority of staff at its newly acquired nuclear reactor design company voted to authorize strike action. The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) held a strike vote yesterday: an unprecedented 95% of employees participated in the vote, with over 94% voting to authorize strike action.

"This vote is a stinging indictment of SNC-Lavalin's cavalier management style and brinkmanship bargaining. They claim employees are their greatest asset, and yet they attempt to extract a series of unacceptable concessions," said SPEA President, Peter White. "Their quest to maximize short term profits at the expense of employees is placing a major Ontario-based industry in jeopardy."

SNC Lavalin officials predict that Candu Energy's revenue stream will double over the next five years, not including Canadian opportunities, like an Ontario new build. These revenues are at risk because of an ongoing exodus of experienced staff from the newly privatized company, which SNC-Lavalin purchased from the federal government in October of last year.

"This is a watershed moment for the CANDU nuclear industry. Hundreds of experienced nuclear employees have already fled this company since the federal government announced the sale of AECL's commercial business to SNC-Lavalin last summer. Many more are poised to leave. We are fighting for the survival of the CANDU industry. We already face serious shortages of expertise in key areas. These shortages could become critical to ongoing projects if SNC-Lavalin doesn't change its approach." added White.

The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) and the Communications Energy & Paperworkers' Union (CEP) have each pledged one million dollars to assist SPEA in financing a strike or lockout. "We are extremely grateful," said White. "The CAW and the CEP understand that the CANDU industry supports tens of thousands of high quality, high value-added jobs that generate significant benefits to Ontario's economy. We applaud their generosity and their show of solidarity."

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