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Safety top concern in Unifor-Brinks talks

OTTAWA, Sept. 24, 2014 /CNW/ - The safety of armoured car crews is topping the agenda as contract talks with Brinks Canada in Ottawa reach a critical juncture, Unifor says.

"Safety for armoured car guards and drivers is a priority because there have been so many violent attacks. It is what our members are demanding," said Andre Desjardins, president of Unifor Local 4266, which represents Brinks workers in Ottawa. "When armoured car guards and drivers are safe that also means improved public safety."

Talks between Unifor Local 4266 and Brinks head to mediation on September 29 and 30, with a strike or lockout date of October 1. The union has a 99 per cent strike mandate from its 130 members.

The top issue in the talks is a letter from the company, included with the last contract negotiated three years ago, in which Brinks committed to refrain from using "all-off crews" during the life of the contract. With all-off crews, no guard is left in the armoured car while money is being delivered or picked up.

Brinks has so far refused to renew the letter in the new contract.

"All-off crews are less safe. They get robbed more," Desjardins said. "If the company is not planning to use all-off crews, it should be willing to put that in writing."

Unifor has been at the forefront of calls for improved safety in the armoured car industry, including calling for minimum employment and safety standards and a task force into the armoured car industry.

Since 2000, there have been more than 70 attacks on armoured cars in Canada, including four in the past year alone that resulted in public shoot-outs.

For a copy of Unifor's review of the armoured car industry and complete recommendations to improve its safety, go to

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 2,000 in the armoured car industry. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.