Toronto – About 550 Direct Energy workers, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, are now on strike. “As our customers did with the new terms and conditions on rental water heaters, it is now our turn to take a stand on a living wage, balancing work and family and being paid a fair salary and fair benefits from a company that continues to make large profits,” says Dave Moffat, CEP’s Ontario Administrative Vice-President.
At the bargaining table, Direct Energy is demanding as much as 25% in wage claw backs, sweeping concessions on benefits, and changes to scheduling which will have a negative impact on customer service. The clerical and operational employees, members of CEP Local 975, provide plumbing, water heater, heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, including water heater and furnace installations and maintenance, to over 1,000,000 homeowners throughout Ontario.
“The company is refusing to pay a shift premium for evening and weekend work, which is when customers prefer to have their servicing performed,” says Moffat.
“For it’s part, the company is claiming that it needs these concessions to make more profit even though it is making money hand over fist,” he says. “While we don’t want to leave customers in a situation without professional service, we are being forced into a difficult position by Direct Energy.” Though Local 975 has been in a legal strike position since March 30, it has repeatedly tried to get the employer to negotiate an agreement. They bargained until late last night and took strike action at midnight. “Our members did not want a strike – they much prefer to be working for their customers — but for some perverse reason Direct Energy does,” concludes Moffat.
More Information: Dave Moffat, (416) 460-8443