The Alberta Federation of Labour is demanding the government do more than simply give Canadian Midway Co a warning for employment law violations at Edmonton's Klondike Days and the Calgary Stampede.
"North American Midway, parent company of the Canadian Midway Co, has been grossly exploiting young South African workers," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "We have teenagers who have been worked 17 hours a day. They have endured terrible living conditions, and, at the end of the day, they have made less than minimum wage for their labour."
"I have news for the Alberta government - these are not "minor" violations," says McGowan. "By brushing aside the blatant mistreatment of these young workers, the government is sending the wrong message to employers everywhere in the province. I assure the government that most Albertans do not agree with the whitewash of this employer's actions."
He is particularly upset with the sly 'wink and nod' attitude of the government. "What's the point of having rules if they're not enforced? Rules without real consequences are not rules at all," says McGowan
In fact, McGowan is convinced that most employers in the province would not agree with the lack of penalties in this case. "One bad actor like this, if left unpunished, could tarnish the image of all Alberta companies," says McGowan.
"This government needs to do a 180 degree turn in its attitudes to working Albertans," concludes McGowan. "Immediately reversing this decision to do nothing would be a good place to start."