CN union steward fired after finding spy camera

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CN union steward fired after finding spy camera

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CN union steward fired after finding spy camera

CP 2004-12-24 02:08:05

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WINNIPEG -- The Canadian National Railway Co. employee who uncovered the hidden surveillance cameras at a CN maintenance shop last month has been fired. A union official said Les Lilley, a 34-year railway employee, was informed by a letter late Wednesday that he was being terminated because he violated management-union protocols on accessing the workplace.

Abe Rosner, Canadian Auto Workers national representative, said the dismissal -- which he called a blatant move by CN Rail to intimidate employees -- will be immediately grieved.

"We're confident he'll get his job back with full compensation and CN Rail knows this, too," Rosner said.

"This can't be viewed as anything but a cynical and cold-hearted move by the company to threaten the other employees in the shops."

CN employees discovered a single surveillance camera hidden in an air duct in late November. The railway later admitted it had four cameras recording the workplace.

The railway said the cameras were installed because of unexplained equipment breakdowns.

The union applied to a court to have the cameras turned off, but the judge ruled the railway can operate as many as four cameras to monitor equipment, provided they record visual images only.

Lilley had been the shop's chief steward for several years.

While he remained on the railway's payroll, as chief steward he performed no production duties and instead worked full-time as a union official from an office at the site.

Lilley was questioned for several hours Tuesday about his involvement in discovering the cameras and whether he conformed to the management-union protocols that govern the chief steward's movements at the workplace.

Rosner said Lilley was fired for violating those protocols and for being insubordinate to the manager of the Transcona Wheel Shops.

A spokesperson for CN Rail said the company had been advised by its lawyers not to comment on the situation.

Lilley could not be reached for comment.

Rosner said the grievance process could take several months and the union is exploring other avenues in a bid to get Lilley reinstated as quickly as possible.

Copyright © The London Free Press 2001,2002,2003

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