The Combined Councils of Labrador, advocating on behalf of communities throughout the Big Land, has issued a statement objecting to Nalcor Energy’s failure to impose Labrador-first hiring during the early site work at Muskrat Falls.
The executive board of the Combined Councils of Labrador — including mayors and/or councilors from L’Anse au Clair, North West River, Mary’s Harbour and Rigolet — has collectively stated it is “extremely disappointed with the vice president of the Lower Churchill project, Gilbert Bennett’s recent comments regarding their hiring practices in regards to the project.”
The group is referring to comments Bennett made to CBC news in response to questions around the workforce used for preliminary site work at Muskrat Falls. The report noted just one of every three of the approximately 200 hires live in Labrador.
Bennett said contractors came in with their own employees and he could not comment on the hiring, but added more work would be available for Labradorians should the project be given the go-ahead.
The Combined Councils of Labrador have said the response is not good enough.
“His explanation of not having to follow hiring practices until the project is sanctioned is not acceptable and we feel that this must be addressed now. Work is continuing on the site and any positions must be filled by Labradorians first, whether the project is sanctioned or not,” reads the statement issued today.
Local hires and labour play a role in the environmental review of a project and government approval — as an economic and social impact on the project area.
“As a good corporate citizen, NALCOR should immediately honour what they are proposing in the environmental impact statement. ... Mr. Bennett’s comments that companies are only using their own skilled work force are not acceptable since every company bidding on contracts for this project will be able to use the same scenario.”
The Combined Councils of Labrador was formed to deal with issues common to Labrador municipalities and lobby government to address the issues. It has been advocating on behalf of all Labrador municipalities since 1979.
More to come in tomorrow’s edition.