3 G4S Security Guards killed in an Edmonton shooting

A spokesperson has confirmed that the three victims of a tragic shooting in Edmonton’s Hub Mall area last night are security guards with G4S. A forth security guard remains in critical condition. 

“Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and co-workers of these G4S guards,” says UFCW Local 401 President Douglas O’Halloran.  “It’s deeply saddening when any worker loses their life on the job, and even more disturbing when such a senseless crime occurs.” 

UFCW Local 401 is calling on the public to demand better working conditions and stronger regulations for Security Guard operators in Alberta. Employers and lawmakers have an obligation to these victims and their families to investigate the conditions that led to these deaths and do everything within their power to prevent something like this from happening again.

As a Union that represents security companies in the Northern Alberta region and has been actively trying to organize security guards across the province, UFCW Local 401 hears firsthand about the deplorable conditions faced by these workers on daily basis.

“In the Province of Alberta security guards are underpaid, undertrained, and underrepresented. They face long, irregular shifts, poor safety regulations and wages barely above the minimum requirement,” says President O’Halloran.  

The reality is that legislation dictating working conditions for workers is inadequate, and it’s up to the Employer to go beyond that and enforce a higher standard. Too many employers are content to operate with a high employee turnover rather than pay their employees a liveable wage, and create a working environment that’s gratifying. 

Over the past year Local 401 has been working with G4S security guards in the Fort McMurray region in an attempt to address some of their specific concerns. 

“Every time we talk to a worker with G4S, two weeks later they’ve either quit or been fired” says Union Organizer Archie Duckworth.  “What this indicates to us is that employees are dissatisfied and managed poorly.” 

“The problem with the mentality of just cycling in new workers,” continues Duckworth, “is that it generates guards who have not been properly prepared to face the dangers that their job entails.” 

UFCW Local 401 is striving to bring awareness to the issues facing Security Guards and change the outlook for those working in Alberta. The industry standard for these workers is far below what it should be and there are vast discrepancies in the wages, hours, and conditions that workers are experiencing at different worksites.

“These guards need someone to advocate for them and demand changes. It is essential that the public join their voices with those of Labour organizations that are asking for tighter safety regulations, higher wages, and proper representation for security guards,” says President O’Halloran. 

While many questions regarding the unsettling deaths of the guards involved in this shooting remain to be answered, questions are also being raised about what could have been done to prevent it.

“As we mourn this terrible loss, it is important that we investigate how something so surreal could have happened, and to challenge ourselves to fight to protect these workers and ensure nothing like this ever occurs again.” 

Read the news coverage of the event below: