Monday, December 28, 2009

Manitoba Hydro denies Quebec bias

read full article at Winnipeg Free Press: "The unions estimate that at peak employment a month ago, 44 per cent of the carpenters and 60 to 65 per cent of the labourers at the site were from Quebec. Two of the three companies that make up the consortium awarded the general civil construction contract are based in Quebec.

The unions say that Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government should do more to maximize the number of Manitobans who benefit from the $1.6-billion megaproject.

Ron Evans, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said he's frustrated that trained aboriginal workers are not being hired as apprentices.

'The belief by the workers, by the people who have been laid off or didn't get a job, is that the contractor from Quebec is bringing in people from Quebec, using Wuskwatim as a training (ground) for them because they are going to be building two hydro dams in Quebec,' Evans said.

He said job postings from contractor O'Connell-Neilson-EBC (ONE) contain 'weasel clauses' calling for specific work experience that prevents aboriginals and other Manitobans from being hired. A ONE official didn't return phone requests for an interview."

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