NEW GLASGOW – The union supporting Canada Post employees say two workers have been fired unfairly over a health and safety issue.
Kevin Peterson, president of the Local CUPW, said Thursday during a day of action protest in front of the New Glasgow post office, Elizabeth Koszkulics and Joan Mabey, two longtime employees of the New Glasgow office, were fired in October following a police investigation into a damage of property complaint.
“What is all boils down to is health and safety concerns,” he said. “There is a safety curtain that divides the dock and it is supposed to be see-through. It has gotten so dirty over the years that we couldn’t see through it and people were getting more and more concerned.”
Peterson said the issue had been brought up at several health and safety meetings and documented in the minutes that it would be replaced this spring, but so far the same curtain is in place.
“Enough is enough is what it boils down to,” he said, adding the two fired women were accused of altering the curtain without Canada Post approval. “The employees are accused of taking action into their own hands. Somehow the curtain involved them getting charged and fired.”
The woman will have their first appearance in Pictou provincial court on Jan. 4 on a mischief charge. The alleged offence occurred Oct. 13 at the New Glasgow office.
Peterson said as union president he supports the two women and he hopes the day of action will bring attention to the situation.
“We are in Pictou County and we have known about the importance of health and safety since 1992,” he said. “We stand by it and we are just asking Canada Post to do the same. If the workers can learn, so can the corporations.”
Anick Loiser of Canada Post said the company has formal processes to address any health and safety issues and encourage its employees to raise any potential issues through the proper channels.
The company says that process involves both local management and the union and is in place in workplaces across the country. As well, employees also have a right to refuse work they feel is unsafe, as per collective agreements.
“An industrial room separator designed to regulate temperature within the building was recently damaged and police have been involved. Unfortunately, it would be inappropriate for us to further comment on a personnel matter.”