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Power plant engineers on strike at Western University


Unionized engineers who operate the power plant at Western University have walked off the job.

One dozen members of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local 772, picketed along Western Road Wednesday, at the Elgin Road and Philip Aziz Avenue entrances. Traffic was held up for drivers turning east into the campus.

The unionized workers were in a legal strike position as of 12 a.m. Wednesday. They have been without a contract since June.

Representatives say negotiations with a conciliator have failed to reach an agreement.

According to IUOE Local 772 spokesperson Lewis Pellar, who works at the plant, the university is holding wage increases to one per cent, based on the province’s Bill 124 wage cap, even though a court deemed the bill unconstitutional.

He said other operating engineers across Ontario have received annual wage increases of between three and six per cent.

The power plant provides high-pressure steam for heating and cooling more than 10 million square feet of building space on the Western Campus, including University Hospital.

The power plant at Western University in London, Ont. as seen on Oct. 12, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV News London)“The chief engineer and the assistant chief took over the plant at midnight last night from us, and there’s a limitation for two people to operate that plant, and we have no idea who is operating,” said IUOE Local 772 steward John Chengal.

“They’re licensed by the province of Ontario and they are familiar with the plant, but they’re not able to respond to all the needs, like if there’s an emergency situation they won’t be able to respond to it in the manner that we would,” added Pellar.

As of publication, Western University had not responded to our request for comment on the strike. Top Stories

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