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Robbery shows need for armoured car safety review

TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The violent robbery of a two-person all off crew armoured car in Montreal early this morning, which resulted in the shooting death of the robber, underscores the need for a thorough overhaul of the industry to protect both the public and those working in the industry, Unifor says.

"This kind of violence takes place in public places, because that's where the ATMs are. Having two-person all off crews just makes it too tempting to robbers. And, as we have repeatedly seen, that leads to gun violence in our communities," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

A 32-year-old man was shot and killed in Montreal at around 1:30am outside a bank in the Longueuil area as two armoured truck guards were carrying bags of cash back to their truck from an ATM. Police said the man attacked the guards and a shot was fired at the man. He was pronounced dead in hospital about an hour later, and the two guards were treated for shock.

"Two-person crews are simply not safe. They are part of a race to the bottom that has to stop," Dias said.

In a landmark ruling released last month, two-person, one man all off armoured car crews were declared unsafe by a federal health and safety officer after an exhaustive investigation.

Dias has requested a meeting with federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney to discuss safety in the armoured car industry.

A two-person all off crew was robbed this week at Toronto's Fairview Mall. No one was hurt in the ensuing shootout, but the robbery demonstrates the dangers faced by workers and the public, and highlights the need for minimum employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment.

This is the third robbery of a two person all off crew since last December.

The use of two-person crews is among many issues Dias plans to raise in a meeting with Blaney. Dias will also press for a task force on the armoured car industry to undertake comprehensive policy research, gather stakeholders' views and develop recommendations and legislative guidance to address a patchwork of out of date and ineffective regulations for the industry.

Dias has yet to hear from Blaney about whether he will meet.

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

Unifor, which represents 2,000 workers in the armoured car industry, was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 with the merger of the Canadian Autoworkers with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union. With more than 300,000 members, it is Canada's largest union in the private sector.

SOURCE Unifor the union

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