For immediate release
NUCLEAR EXPERTS HOLD RALLY AT AECL’S CHALK RIVER LABORATORIES
Ottawa, July 11, 2012 - With a July 17, 2012 strike deadline fast approaching, nuclear experts represented by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) held a news conference and staged an information picket today at Chalk River Laboratories to seek a fair settlement from their employer, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).
These engineers and scientists working at the Chalk River facility have been without a contract for more than a year. These specialists operate the Chalk River reactor, conduct nuclear research and development, support CANDU nuclear power reactors in Canada and throughout the world, produce medical isotopes, and manage nuclear waste. The parties are at an impasse over wage cuts and other concessions.
“The current negotiations will either steer the Laboratories towards a thriving future, or put them on the path to decommissioning, with serious economic and social consequences on Renfrew County”, said PIPSC President Gary Corbett.
Chalk River Laboratories are Renfrew County’s second biggest employer, providing work for some 2,800 people in the Pembroke/Deep River area. Should the AECL fail to maintain its position as the Canadian nuclear industry leader in Research & Development, the Chalk River facility would likely see approximately 50% of its staff laid off during the decommissioning process. The highly technical and scientific nature of the work performed by Chalk River staff would make it difficult for laid-off workers to find new employment related to their field in their community.
“The government of Canada has a chance to preserve an area of engineering and scientific expertise in which Canada is world leader and to preserve a lynchpin facility for the Canadian nuclear sector”, added Corbett. “It is time for it to intervene and ensure that these scientists and engineers receive a fair agreement so that their important work can continue.”
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents some 60,000 professionals and scientists across Canada’s public sector, including approximately 700 nuclear experts employed at the Chalk River facility.
For further information: Pierre Villon (613) 228-6310 extension 2228 or
(613) 794-9369 (cell)