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Alberta Federation of Labour calling for enhanced working alone legislation

| www.cos-mag.com

An attack on an Edmonton convenience store employee early Monday morning has renewed calls for safety legislation for late-night workers.

Two men and a woman attempted to rob the Mac’s convenience store on the corner of 40 Street and Hermitage Road in Edmonton. They proceeded to assault an employee of the store. Two of the attackers were brandishing firearms. The employee suffered serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

“The statistics show – and the headlines confirm – that working alone late at night carries a lot of risks,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Anyone who reads the papers or watches the news can see that workers who are alone late at night are being targeted for violence. We can’t ignore incidents like this one.”

In December, two Mac’s store employees were shot and killed in separate armed robberies at Edmonton locations. In the wake of the attacks in December, Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley promised to move forward on safety legislation for late-night workers.

“I’m glad that they plan to move forward on this and glad that they’re taking this issue seriously,” McGowan said. “As last night’s attack shows, this legislation cannot come soon enough.”

AFL is calling for regulations similar to those in British Columbia, where all-night retail employers are required to have more than one person on duty on night shifts, when robberies and violent attacks are most likely. If the employer insists on having only one staff member on duty, that staff member must work in a locked area, behind a secure barrier.

Additionally, it must be made mandatory for late-night retail employers to provide their employees with training about how to deal with robberies and gas-and-dash situations. This training must make it clear that money lost from robberies will not be deducted from an employee’s paycheque.

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