Twenty-six Fort McMurray airport custodial staff learned today that they are being fired, their jobs out-sourced to a company that recruits and hires temporary foreign workers.
“We’re in shock,” CUPE Local 1505 President Les Collins said. “Temporary foreign workers aren’t supposed to displace hard-working Canadians who want to keep their jobs.”
According to the Bill’s General Cleaning website, custodial staff will be paid only $14.50/hour, the equivalent of $30,160 per year before deductions. The Province of Alberta says the average cost of living in Fort McMurray is $65,000.
“Offering to pay workers considerably less than half of the cost of living is unconscionable,” Collins said. “This is simple exploitation.”
Bill’s General Cleaning has a sister company, which shares an office address and phone number, called Bill’s Recruiting. They specialize in recruiting and placement of temporary foreign workers (TFWs).
CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts is calling on the federal Minister of Labour to demand an investigation into the use of TFWs in this case.
“We want to know why long-term employees are being put out of work, and TFWs being brought in,” Roberts said. “How does this support the Canadian economy?”
“Our workers went through intensive security screening in order to work at an airport,” Collins said. “Safety is a major concern. How can we be sure of the backgrounds of people who have been in Canada only a few days?”
CUPE members and supporters intend to picket the airport and to contact municipal, provincial, and federal politicians to reverse the privatization plan.
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Contact: David Loan
DL/vt COPE #491