Mandatory overtime at Rio Tinto’s Kitimat smelter is putting workers’ health and safety in jeopardy says Unifor.
Unifor Local 2301 represents workers at the aluminum smelter, and in a press release, says workers are facing increased stress and fatigue while working 12-hour shifts.
The mandatory overtime is due to a difficult start-up of the smelter says the union.
The statement adds these conditions increases the potential for accidents, especially in an industrial setting.
The union says workers are afraid of being penalized if they refuse mandatory overtime, and alleges some workers have already been disciplined.
Unifor says it disputes Rio Tinto’s claim that mandatory overtime is a contractual right.
It adds that Rio Tinto is increasing the workload rather than increasing the workforce, despite collective agreement provisions for temporary workers during the start-up phase.