A union representing TransLink workers is taking issue with the regional transportation authority throwing one of its members under the bus, er, SkyTrain in connection with Monday's (July 21) shutdown of the Expo and Millennium lines.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees questions why the electrician that TransLink says tripped the main breaker at a power distribution panel, sparking the SkyTrain outage, was suspended before a "proper investigation", while his supervisor was not.
“The panel is of poor design. This problem, regarding the hazards and potential for failure, is well known by the employer and was raised on several occasions by our members. This panel should not be worked on during Skytrain operating hours. But they ignored this information,” CUPE national representative Louise Oetting said in a news release this afternoon (July 22).
“Now we have a situation where an individual has been suspended after being directed to work in an unsafe manner—and this public blame and suspension has occurred without a proper investigation having been completed.”
This morning, TransLink blamed "human error" for the second SkyTrain shutdown in a week.
"An experienced electrician was installing a new circuit breaker for the Evergreen Line at a power distribution panel when he accidently tripped the main breaker feeding the critical systems at SkyTrain’s operations centre, causing a system-wide shut down of train controls," TransLink said in a release.
CUPE is now conducting its own investigation and plans to contact WorkSafeBC.
“The employer has agreed that we mustn’t candy-coat the issue, as people want answers," Oetting said. "Their answer was to throw our member under the train.”