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Steelworkers says justice system has filed the families of Westray
USW press release, 3 July 1998
TORONTO, July 3 /CNW/ - The recent announcement by Nova Scotia government prosecutors to stay the criminal charges against Westray mine managers, Gerald Phillips and Roger Parry, for the deaths of 26 miners was met with bitterness and disappointment by the United Steelworkers. The Steelworkers had been conducting an organizing drive at the time of the mine explosion.
"The Westray Mine Public Inquiry produced two volumes of documentation of mismanagement, violations of safety regulations and practices, and failure to protect the safety of workers," said Steelworkers National Director Lawrence McBrearty. "But according to the Crown Attorney, this is not enough to prove a crime by a corporate manager.
"In the fight against deregulation Westray offers all of us a choice," said McBrearty. "We can either choose to forget the deaths of 26 miners, without any clear explanation, or we can demand to know why the Westray explosion was allowed to happen and hold corporate executives and directors accountable for their actions.
"The Steelworkers has begun a national campaign to amend the Criminal Code to include a legal procedure which would hold corporate executives and directors responsible for corporate killing," said McBrearty. "We are also requesting that the Nova Scotia Government review what went wrong in the Westray prosecution. We cannot forget the Westray tragedy. If the corporate executives and directors at Westray cannot be brought to justice then at least those who might think to imitate them can be stopped."