Union for Ontario Power Generation workers issues 21-day strike notice

Click to play video: 'The Ontario government will reconvene the House to deal with OPG strike notice'
The Ontario government will reconvene the House to deal with OPG strike notice
WATCH ABOVE: The Ford government says Ontario could see power outages in a week if OPG workers go on strike and now it’s planning on implementing back-to-work legislation. Kamil Karamali has more – Dec 15, 2018

The union representing workers at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has issued a 21-day strike notice.

A letter dated Friday and forwarded to Global News by the Ontario government said, “Please accept this as formal notice to Ontario Power Generation pursuant to Article 5A.2 of the OPG PWU Collective Agreement that the PWU is directing the legal withdrawing of services by PWU represented security staff at OPG in 21 days from today.”

The Ontario government announced Friday evening that MPPs will be recalled to the legislature on Monday “for the purposes of introducing legislation to ensure that power workers remain on the job.”

The Power Workers’ Union (PWU) rejected OPG’s final contract offer on Thursday leaving employees in a strike position.

“OPG is disappointed that its fair and reasonable offer was not ratified by PWU members,” OPG said in a media release on Thursday.

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“The offer provided PWU members with reasonable working conditions and benefits while recognizing the fiscal realities of the company and the Province of Ontario.”

READ MORE: Ontario Power Generation hire dismissed amid allegations of meddling by premier’s staffer

Global News has learned Premier Doug Ford scheduled a meeting with his advisers on the matter on Friday afternoon.

“Our members’ first choice is always to reach an agreement through negotiating in good faith,” Mel Hyatt, president of PWU, said in a media release on Thursday.

“We are disappointed that OPG provided a final offer that remained unchanged from the previous offer that had already been rejected. We need to reach an agreement that will strengthen the reliability of Ontario’s energy sector.”

PWU said the bargaining committee will meet on Friday to discuss steps to begin a 21-day “safe shut down” period in preparation for a strike.

Workers have been without a contract since March 31 and negotiations between the two parties have since reached an impasse.

The union said OPG refuses to reconsider its stance to deny over 300 term workers the rights of full-time employees. Currently, 300 Pickering and Darlington power plants employees fit in the term worker category.

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The Ontario government says OPG, a Crown corporation, produces close to 50 per cent of the province’s electricity.

The Ford government says any prolonged outage caused by a job action “would jeopardize electricity supply to Ontario’s industry and businesses, which could have a devastating impact and ripple effect on our province’s economy.”

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“We strongly urge both parties to reach a resolution before this leads to any power interruptions,” Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford and Minister of Labour Laurie Scott said in a joint statement on Thursday.

“We want to assure the people of Ontario that we are reviewing all options available to us to ensure that the supply of electricity remains uninterrupted in this province. Our government will have no hesitation to act swiftly and decisively if required.”

OPG said they have “very detailed” contingency plans in place and is “activating them immediately.”

Officials said they are discussing next steps and more details will be released when they are available.

PWU represents over 16,000 workers in Ontario’s energy sector including approximately 6,000 OPG employees.


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