Canadian Manufacturing

Nuke scientists and engineers hit the picket lines

The company hasn't said yet how the job action might affect operations.



TORONTO—The people that operate our nulear reactors walked off the job on Monday morning.

About 800 nuclear scientists, engineers and technologists at Candu Energy Inc. went on strike Monday morning after negotiators failed to reach a contract.

Candu is owned by Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. Its reactors supply nearly half of Ontario’s electricity and 16 per cent of Canada’s overall electricity requirements.

With operations in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, Candu also supplies more than 22,000 megawatts of power at sites around the world.

The company hasn’t said yet how the job action might affect operations.

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, which represents the workers, said power plants will not shut down but there will a noticeable effect on operations.

“There’s not enough people to replace us, so work will definitely be impacted,” spokeswoman Michelle Duncan said.

The union has said the main sticking points involved wages and seniority.

SPEA president Peter White claims SNC-Lavalin is trying to compensate its employees differently from nuclear industry workers around the world.

A full strike threatens the future of Canada’s nuclear industry as Duncan says Senior engineers are choosing to leave the company, which could erode the design and service capabilities.

“Our members can work anywhere in the world, they are employable and they are making their decisions…with their feet,” she said

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