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UK security service stands guard

Jorge Barrera
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 14/01) - A security company hired by CBC for "safety" reasons during the current technical staff strike operated against bylaw regulations in the city for most of the week.

NNSL Photo

London Protection International security officers keep an eye on their client's building, the CBC North headquarters on Forrest Drive, from their truck. - Robert Dall/NNSL photo

London Protection International, a security company specializing in "labour unrest," was operating in the city without a business licence.

When contacted by Yellowknifer on Wednesday, Violett Currie, city business licensing clerk, said the company was not registered. "Now that you tell me I will have municipal enforcement check it out," said Currie.

Currie said all businesses in the city must be registered or face a $250 fine. Doug Gillard, manager of municipal enforcement, said the company filed for registration early Thursday morning after a meeting with city enforcement officers.

"There was nothing intentional about it, it was an oversight," said Gillard.

Two London Protection International officers have been parked across from the CBC building on Forrest Drive for most of the week, monitoring an non-existent picket line.

CBC management and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) representing technical CBC staff across the country reached an impasse in negotiations, triggering the recent strike-lockout, which began on Dec 7.

Fred Mattocks, executive director of production and resources of CBC English television, said the company was hired for the safety of the strikers.

"Picket lines can be violent places," said Mattocks. "But no one sets out with that frame of mine."

Mattocks said management would be reviewing the usefulness of the company in Yellowknife if there are no picketers.

Peter Murdoch, vice-president of media for CEP, called the deployment of private security ludicrous.

"What a complete waste of taxpayer's money to have goon security watching staff," said Murdoch. "Where are these people's heads at? It is an indication that this thing is out of control."

CEP represents 1,600 CBC staff across the country, 18 in Yellowknife.