Unemployed tradesmen want jobs cleaning up Sydney tar ponds

Hold protest to make a point

By Nancy King
Cape Breton Post
Thur., May 24, 2007

SYDNEY - Unemployed tradespeople picketed off the Sydney Ports Access Road, Wednesday calling for work associated with the cleanup of the tar ponds to go to union members. A couple dozen tradespeople stood outside the gates as heavy trucks and other vehicles rumbled by on the SPAR.

"There’s a lot of guys here, they don’t want to go out west but they’re not going to have any choice," said Wally Jardine, spokesperson for the operating engineers who want drilling work to be done by unionized workers. "We’re here today just to d e m o n - strate, to show the people that we’re not gonna put up with it. There’s jobs here for Cape Bretoners, that’s the way it should be."

J a rd i n e said he believes up to 65-70 jobs could be at stake in the first phase of the project. He added the workers are prepared to continue to picket as long as necessary.

John Chesal, spokesperson for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, noted the driller doing the work at the site wasn’t hired by the agency but is under a subcontract by the project’s design engineers, Earth Tech.

"As an agency, we don’t direct our design engineers as to who they should or shouldn’t hire," he said. "There will be lots of work on this project over the next seven years and a lot of it’s going to be done by union workers, some of it may not be," Chesal said. "That’s an issue that the operating engineers are going to have to work out with our design engineer."