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Management intervenes in strike by safety inspectors

TSSA spokesperson says union’s account of labor action is littered with inaccuracies

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A spokesperson for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) said they want a deal with striking safety inspectors and it is union members represented by the Public Service Employees Union of the Ontario (OPSEU) who appeared to be pushing for a strike.

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Alexandra Campbell is TSSA’s Vice President of Communications and Stakeholder Relations. Campbell was responding to a recent Nugget article discussing the TSSA safety inspectors’ strike that lasted nearly three weeks.

A total of 170 Ontario safety inspectors have been on furlough for almost three weeks.

Campbell, offering a different view of labor action than the union, says OPSEU’s narrative has been littered with inaccuracies.

“We worked very hard to come to an agreement. Our main objective was to put in place a fair and reasonable first collective agreement for the inspectors, because we really appreciate the work of the inspectors. We had been meeting with OPSEU for some time ( but) very early in the process, they started signaling, making signs that they were preparing for a strike. We continued to meet and bargain in good faith. OPSEU is the party that set up measures to strike and then went on strike,” says Campbell.

“With this looming, we tabled a final offer on July 15. What it is, (is) a complete draft of a collective agreement that could be ratified. It was a comprehensive proposal that included all the terms of a first collective agreement and provided inspectors with excellent health, dental and pension benefits as well as a pay raise for a multi-year agreement.

Campbell says the current salary for safety inspectors is about $92,000 a year.

Campbell adds that avoiding a strike was a priority for management.

“We made a fair and reasonable offer. Even between July 15 and July 20, we made further updates and improvements to (the agreement) based on the feedback we had, as we had heard from the inspectors. We were giving them this final offer (hours before the strike deadline) and we haven’t heard from them. So they say we walked away from the table but… we made a final offer, they didn’t respond and they went on strike.

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Campbell addresses concerns about the TSSA maintaining its mandate with so many inspectors on leave.

“With the inspectors on strike, comprehensive plans are in place so that we can continue to fulfill our safety mandate. The TSSA will continue to respond to serious security incidents and inspect all sites classified as high risk. TSSA will also be available to provide services to critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and long-term care homes. Every effort will be made to minimize any disruption to business as much as possible. »

Adam Wells is a striking inspector and adds that some inspectors earn far less than the $92,000 a year quoted by management.

Wells says many women earn less than their male counterparts doing the same job.

“They run the TSSA like a dictatorship,” says Wells. “They don’t care about public safety – they only care about finances.”