The head of Canadas largest private sector union is warning that many of the countrys youngest workers face unsafe conditions on the job.
According to the Canadian Press, Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza says young workers are often unaware of their rights, including the right to refuse unsafe work. (WCxKit)
His warning comes after retail grocer Metro Ontario was fined $350,000 recently for an Occupational Health and Safety Act violation that caused the death of a 17-year-old worker.
The union says in a release that the young worker, who was a CAW member, had only been on the job for a few weeks.
The Ministry of Labor says the fatal accident occurred in August 2009 at a Mississauga Metro store on Erin Mills Parkway.
The ministrys report says the teen was told to remove a box from on top of a drop ceiling but when the worker stepped onto the ceiling, he fell through and suffered a fatal head injury.
''Employers are failing in their responsibility to ensure young workers are safe on the job through comprehensive health and safety training,'' Lewenza said in a recent release.
''The retail sector is a major employer in this country, but weve seen conditions gradually erode, where there is much higher staff turnover due to erratic shift scheduling, limited health and safety considerations and poor wages and benefits.''
Ontario government statistics show that each year more than 10,000 workers under the age of 25 are injured on the job and are unable to return to work the next day. (WCxKit)
The CAW represents 22,000 retail and wholesale workers across the country, including workers at Metro Inc., Loblaws, Sobeys, The Bay, Sears and Zellers.
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