Labor union says Enbridge Gas to cut emergency response shifts in Toronto

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Enbridge Inc logo

(Reuters) -Canadian labor union Unifor said on Friday that Enbridge's gas unit wants to cut its emergency response shifts in Toronto, amid an emphasis on curtailing costs.

Enbridge Gas, the Canadian pipeline operator's gas utility, intends to trim evening and overnight shifts and reduce compliance tasks such as checking and inspecting valves and other parts of gas infrastructure for defects due to a labor shortage, the union said.

The union also urged local government agencies in Toronto to review the company's contracts concerning maintenance and safety of natural gas lines.

"The absence of overnight shifts will necessitate increased reliance on emergency services, delaying critical intervention, increasing risk of gas incidents, putting the public at risk," Lana Payne, the union's national president, wrote to government authorities.

The company cut hundreds of jobs earlier this year to curb costs, following its acquisition of three U.S. gas utilities from Dominion Energy for $14 billion.

"The suggestion that there is a lack of employees to provide an emergency response is categorically false," Enbridge Gas said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

The energy firm said it is also engaging with the Unifor and working through the grievance/arbitration process to resolve the issues.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Mohammed Safi Shamsi and Alan Barona)