AFL applauds court decision to hold Chinese firm to account for workers' deaths
EDMONTON – The Alberta Federation of Labour applauds the Alberta Court of Appeal's decision to uphold a ruling that Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co. can be prosecuted for the deaths of two oil sands workers.
"Today's ruling makes it clear that if international companies want to do business here, they have to not only respect our laws, but also be accountable when they violate them," says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), which represents 145,000 workers.
"Although we applaud today's decision, we're troubled that court proceedings have taken this long," says McGowan, noting that the two workers were killed over four years ago in April 2007. "With one of the three court justices holding a dissenting position, there's a possibility that the company may seek to delay their day in court even longer."
"It is incredibly frustrating and distressing that this company tried to dodge justice by dragging the process out as long as they have. We hope these workers' families will see justice as soon as possible."
"The other company involved in these workers' deaths, Canadian Natural Resources, is due to go on trial in the fall of 2012, more than five years after the accident. These delays are totally unacceptable and make a mockery of laws designed to protect workers."
Gil McGowan, AFL president, 780-218-9888 (cell)