Big B.C. highways bonuses despite poor safety record | National Union of Public and General Employees

Big B.C. highways bonuses despite poor safety record

Private British Columbia highway contractors rewarded by Liberal government of Premier Gordon Campbell despite repeatedly failing safety inspections.

Vancouver (6 May 2009) - Six highways contractors received more than $1 million in bonus payments from the Gordon Campbell government in 2008, despite repeatedly failing safety inspections for highways maintenance vehicles, says the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).

Three of the companies - Emcon Services, Kootenay Boundary ($184,406.41); YRB, Fort George ($180,674.87) and HMC Services, Selkirk ($211,352.53) - cumulatively received almost $600,000 in performance bonuses, despite having the worst record of safety violations in the province.

"It is clearly wrong for contractors to be receiving performance bonuses when they are repeatedly breaking the law," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker.

"This revelation only reinforces our call for an immediate province-wide safety audit to ensure that private contractors are following the law and keeping our roads safe for our members and the travelling public."

100% failure rate

HMC Services, which was placed on probation in 2007 for failing to properly maintain its vehicles, received a 100% failure rate on follow-up inspections, despite being warned by provincial commercial vehicle safety inspectors.

Yet the company received the maximum 2% performance bonus at the same time as it surrendered it's Preventative Maintenance Program (PMP) certification.

Safety inspectors also uncovered widespread safety violations at Emcon Services' Trail and Grand Forks operations, noting that the company's PMP program "...is not working and has not worked for quite some time."

"I recommend we not renew or cancel," the documentation notes. Despite this, Emcon received nearly $185,000 in bonus payments from the B.C. government.

The list goes on

Other contractors cited for serious safety violations also received bonus payments include:

Mainroad East Kootenay (28 safety violations) - $178,000 bonus
Cariboo Road Services South Peace (25 safety violations) - $236,000 bonus
Mainroad Howe Sound (20 safety violations) - $147,000 bonus
 
"These payouts clearly show that we need tougher standards and enforcement of highways contractors and a review of the entire Preventative Maintenance Program across the province," Walker says.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
 

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