LNG Canada janitors vote in favour of going on strike

Joshua Azizi

Industrial janitors at the LNG Canada site in Kitimat have voted 84 per cent in favour of going on strike due to concerns over wages and health and safety protections.

The janitors are represented by Unite Here Local 40, a union for workers in the service and hospitality industry. Unite Here Local 40 communications specialist Stephanie Fung said that janitors have been at the bargaining table with their contractors, Dexterra, to push for better wages and adequate safety equipment, but they haven’t been able to come to a resolution.

“Janitors have been among the lowest paid workers at LNG. They’re doing a tremendous amount of cleaning. What they want is respect and a living wage.”

Fung said that many janitors are worried about COVID-19 spreading throughout the workplace, but that they haven’t been given enough protective equipment.

“For months they have been asking for more health and safety equipment, and it wasn’t until that outbreak happened at Kitimat LNG that they were able to get face masks and cut gloves”

Gary Hill is an industrial janitor at LNG Canada and a member of the Haida Nation. He said that LNG Canada hasn’t lived up to its promise of good jobs for local First Nations people.

“When I started there was a few of us, but work conditions wasn’t good enough for them to keep on staying.”
One issue he noted was that janitors from surrounding villages have to cover their own travel costs, while employees from out of the province are flown in by the company.

“If they could fly thousands of people back to Alberta, why can’t they fly a few hundred people back from the few outlying villages?”

In a statement to CFTK-TV news, Dexterra Director of Marketing and Communications Matthew McWhirter said they are aware of the vote in favour of strike action and will continue to bargain in good faith on a new contract.  
Fung said that LNG janitors will be returning to the bargaining table text week.

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