The union representing the prov-ince’s corrections officers threatened job action yesterday if a series of Labour Department safety compliance orders aren’t met by Monday.
The threats came as union and opposition leaders attacked the government over allegations of a coverup of asbestos at the Cape Breton Corrections Facility.
NSGEU officials claim the government has known about asbestos at the facility for 20 years, lied about knowing, and then didn’t reveal the results of new asbestos tests until they were confronted. Justice Minister Cecil Clarke denies the claims.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to notify staff of such harmful substances immediately. “Immediate means that day. They should have told them as soon as they found out,” said NDP MLA Gordie Gosse.
Earlier this month, the Department of Labour issued a compliance order including 14 safety measures to be met by the Justice Department. The NSGEU said if the measures are not met, they may walk off the job and resort to actions such as picketing.
The orders were the outcome of a Labour Department review of workplace safety in the corrections system following the April escape of prisoner Jermaine Carvery. To date, the Justice Department has complied with two of the orders, but Clarke has said it plans to act on all the compliance requirements.