May 25, 2015

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Employment Standards investigates complaint against Emterra

The province’s Employment Standards branch is investigating a labour complaint against Emterra, the city’s trash and recycling collector.

A provincial spokesman said under the province’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act no details of the complaint can be publicly released, including the nature of the complaint.

Emterra employees collect garbage in the back lane of Lindsay Street in River Heights last week.

Emterra employees collect garbage in the back lane of Lindsay Street in River Heights last week.

Emterra has been at the centre of complaints of garbage and recycling not being picked on schedule in some parts of the city under the new residential bin system, which took effect Oct. 1

Emterra has since submitted a new plan to pick up waste on time.

The spokesman said the Employment Standards branch oversees The Employment Standards Code, including the payment of overtime.

The province says in general, all employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked over and above eight hours per day and/or 40 hours per week.

Logical result: CUPE

The head of Winnipeg’s largest public-service union said the complaint is the logical result of the city contracting out too high a proportion of its waste-collection services.

"This is what happens when you don’t have a 50-50 mix in the industry, public and private," said Mike Davidson, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500, which does not represent Emterra workers.

Davidson said the city should reclaim a portion of waste-collection services and conduct it in house. An external audit would reveal the city would get better prices for the service, he claimed.

City council’s public works committee, meanwhile, will consider doing just that in November. On Wednesday, Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith will move a motion before council to ask Winnipeg’s water and waste department to resume the collection of garbage and recycling.

Under council rules, this motion will be referred automatically to the public works committee.


Updated on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM CDT: Adds CUPE response, council note.

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