Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

June 25, 2012 18:34 ET

Strike Looming at AECL Chalk River Laboratories

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 25, 2012) - Engineers and scientists at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Chalk River Laboratories will be in a legal strike position on July 17, 2012. They voted overwhelmingly to strike at a recent meeting in Chalk River, Ontario. This follows 12 months of negotiations to renew their collective agreement which expired June 30, 2011.

"AECL is attempting to achieve a three-year contract with significant concessions on salaries and benefits," said Vince Frisina, Chair of the Chalk River Professional Employees Group. "Our members would see salary decreases in real terms over the life of this agreement. AECL has refused to extend the conciliation deadline which expires on June 25. This starts the clock ticking on the 21-day strike deadline."

In 2009, the main reactor at Chalk River was shut down for repairs for 15 months. With the sale of the commercial arm of AECL last September, Chalk River Laboratories hopes to market itself as a national nuclear research laboratory. Attacking its engineers and scientists is no way to breathe new life into Chalk River Laboratories. Instead, AECL should be looking at ways to attract and retain the best and the brightest scientists and engineers to this new venture.

Gary Corbett, President of The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said, "Our members will not be pressured into a substandard settlement. Until AECL is able to treat its professional employees with respect, an agreement is unlikely."

The Professional Institute represents 700 engineers and scientists at AECL's Chalk River site. They are responsible for design and ensure safe operation of CANDU nuclear reactors, manage radioactive waste from across Canada, and operate nuclear reactors which produce medical isotopes used for diagnostic purposes world-wide.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) represents more than 60,000 Canadian public sector professionals and scientists and is one of the founding members of Professionals Serving Canadians (PSC), a coalition of six concerned public service unions with the position that the Harper government's plan to slash programs and services across the government represents a serious danger to the well-being of Canadians, their families and their communities. Consult the website http://www.safetyeh.ca/, and join the growing number of Canadians who are defending public services.

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