SNC-Lavalin Puts High-tech Jobs at Risk

May 8, 2012, 11:50 AM EST

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SNC-Lavalin is jeopardizing the future of the struggling CANDU industry, and sending highly-skilled workers out of the country, by forcing its employees into a strike position, say two of Canada's top labour leaders.

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada and the Canadian Auto Workers union have each pledged one million dollars to help finance a potential strike by the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates.

More than 94 per cent of SPEA members voted recently to take strike action following repeated attempts by their employer to extract concessions at the bargaining table, including a weaker pension plan. 

"Our joint support sends a clear message about the importance of keeping highly-skilled workers here in Canada," says CEP President Dave Coles. "We need to be taking measures to keep these jobs in here, not send them down south."

"SNC-Lavalin appears intent on provoking a labour dispute, instead of working to strengthen the industry and promote much needed innovation," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "This is extremely short-sighted and we will continue to support the SPEA."

Coles says a strike will undoubtedly result in a serious shortage of highly-skilled staff, impacting ongoing projects as well as thousands of spin-offs jobs. He urged SNC-Lavalin to negotiate with the professional engineers and warned that if the company forces a labour dispute, "we will stand behind the SPEA."

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