Hard working Nova Scotia Power crews shouldn’t be punished for speaking out

July 8, 2014

(New Waterford, NS) NDP Energy critic Frank Corbett is thanking Nova Scotia Power crews for their hard work and tremendous effort to restore service to customers in the wake of post -tropical storm Arthur. He is also calling on Energy Minister Andrew Younger to ensure workers aren’t punished by the utility for speaking out against the outsourcing of jobs.

“Those crews have been out there working their guts out to restore power and they deserve our thanks,” said Corbett. “I heard the Energy Minister say yesterday he appreciates the effort, but he needs to put his money where his mouth is by telling Nova Scotia Power it cannot punish workers for voicing legitimate concerns over staffing levels.”

In the days leading up to and following Arthur the union representing NSP line workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1928, expressed concerns about the impact of outsourcing on staffing levels and the reliance of Nova Scotia Power on private contractors.

“Workers have a right to voice concerns when they aren’t happy with their working conditions or the actions of their employer,” said Corbett. “I hope the Liberal government doesn’t take the same approach it took with nurses, which would be to side with Nova Scotia Power and allow linemen and other workers to be punished for speaking out.”

Corbett also questions whether staffing levels would be an issue if the Liberal government had kept its September 9, 2013 election commitment to fine Nova Scotia Power for outages.

“Performance standards obviously aren’t a concern for Nova Scotia Power if they are outsourcing jobs and getting rid of line inspectors,” said Corbett. “One has to wonder if fewer Nova Scotians would be without power right now if Stephen McNeil had delivered as advertised during the election campaign.”