UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

October 06, 2010 23:59 ET

"Cattle Are Trucked More Safely Than Workers," Says UFCW Canada Leader

Unsafe Transport of B.C. Farmhands Injures Five as Coroner's Recommendations Continue to Be Ignored

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2010) - Five agriculture workers were injured near Surrey, B.C. on Tuesday, after a pickup truck crashed into a flatbed wagon being towed behind a tractor. The workers, who were employed by Greenway Farms near Surrey, were riding in the wagon while perched on a stack of produce boxes.

The driver of the pickup truck was arrested, but so far no charges have been laid against the employer for transporting workers unsafely.

In 2007, three farm workers near Abbottsford, B.C. were killed, and 14 others injured when a ten-person van jammed with the 17 workers flipped and crashed. A coroner's inquest that followed made recommendations to regulate the safe of transportation of farm workers, including strict inspection standards by a third party.

The B.C. government rejected that recommendation, and the sighting of farm workers being transported in unsafe, substandard vehicles remains too common an occurrence.

"It's shameful that the B.C. government continues to turn a blind eye to the coroner's recommendations," says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada, which in cooperation with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) operates farm worker support centres in Abbotsford, Kelowna and Surrey, B.C.

"The way the system is working now, cattle are trucked more safely than agriculture workers. How many more workers have to be killed or injured before the authorities in British Columbia, and Alberta and Ontario stop treating agriculture workers like disposable commodities, and start ensuring that the health and safety of the workers who put food on our tables is properly protected?"

UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union, and represents migrant and domestic agriculture workers at a number of locations in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec.

Contact Information

  • Agricultural Workers Alliance
    Stan Raper
    National Co-ordinator
    UFCW Canada Local 1518, New Westminster, BC
    Andy Neufeld
    Director of Communications