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Hay River mayor upset with union over ‘scabs’ allegation

With strike action looming, the mayor of Hay River has accused a workers’ union of misleading the public.

The Union of Northern Workers, which represents 30 workers set to launch industrial action this month, has accused the town of preparing to hire replacement workers to fill the roles of striking staff.

“I heard from a reliable source that the town council had contemplated bringing in replacement workers – or ‘scabs’ – to fill in, in the event of a strike,” said Jack Bourassa, who represents the workers.

“It’s unsettling that the town council would want to create that kind of a rift. I’m not sure why they would want to do that.”

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In an earlier press release, Union of Northern Workers president Todd Parsons accused the town of ‘disgraceful’ conduct.

However, the town’s mayor, Andrew Cassidy, says none of it is true.

“We’re actually very upset that the union put out a statement saying the town has been looking for out-of-town workers,” Cassidy told Moose FM.

“There is absolutely no truth to that statement. There has been no attempt to bring in workers from any other community to assist in the event of a strike.”

Read: Hay River strike action postponed by document delay

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Cassidy says the town council has only taken steps, in line with the bargaining procedure, to identify essential services and positions that must be maintained in the event of a strike.

“We have been preparing. We do have a plan in case there is a strike. We truly hope it doesn’t go there, but we are prepared for it if it does,” added Cassidy.

“We just hope that people understand, we are working our hardest to resolve this and move forward.”

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