MONTREAL – The Transportation Safety Board sees things clearly! The report that was released today confirms what the Syndicat des Métallos (United Steelworkers) has been saying all along: that the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) was taking safety risks and Transport Canada failed in its duty to provide supervision and monitoring.
It is time to stop treating the workers as scapegoats. The TSB’s message is crystal clear: the MMA “cut corners” with respect to safety, and Transport Canada did not carry out inspections “often enough and thoroughly enough,” and lacked the means to ensure that the Safety Management System set out on paper was actually effective.
“With the deregulation of the railway sector, Ottawa asked the companies to produce Safety Management Systems, a form of self-regulation. This report tells us that these systems did not receive appropriate monitoring. In short, the federal authority gave the wolf the keys to the henhouse and turned its back,” says Richard Boudreault, United Steelworkers Regional Coordinator.
The TSB clearly shows that a series of factors were at work, including several involving negligence on the part of the company and the absence of supervision and monitoring on the part of Transport Canada.
“Based on this report, it is clear that the workers who were arrested are being used as scapegoats to camouflage the incompetence of Transport Canada when it comes to supervising a company like the MMA. We will continue to support the workers so that justice may be done. They tried to make the workers carry the blame, but today’s report clearly shows that the main parties responsible are the MMA and the federal agency,” adds Steven Hadden, president of Steelworkers Local 1976 which represents MMA employees.
The United Steelworkers, affiliated with the Fédération des travailleurs et des travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), is the largest private-sector union in Québec. It represents over 60,000 workers in a number of sectors including mining, metallurgy, industrial manufacturing, security, hotels, restaurants, trucking, taxi, etc.