Friday, June 2, 2023

Security agents say ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ from Neptune

This agent of the Laval Immigration Monitoring Center (CSI) cannot find other words for his experience with the private firm Neptune Security, which obtained a major contract last summer to manage the security of this site.

Working irregular hours, failing training, missing equipment, not keeping records: The Teamsters union, which represented CSI workers, identified a number of troubling elements that affected its members.

It was absolutely abominable, summarizes Peter-André Blanchard, president of Local 931.

“It has been a pernicious skill since the arrival of Neptune. They could not meet the minimum requirements. »

– Quote from Peter-André Blanchard, President of Teamsters Local Lodge 931

As Radio-Canada recently revealed, these failures prompted Ottawa to review the agreement that was signed for three years, worth $42 million.

After a mutual agreement, this private agency left CSI in mid-February, a few months after its arrival last summer. But the issues still need to be resolved, according to the Teamsters union.

pay issues

Regarding the payment of the stakes, the errors would be numerous. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. Payroll errors or unpaid vacations and sick leave, says Pierre-André Blanchard. The Teamsters Union estimates that Neptune owes the workers more than $300,000.

To date, he explains, sixty complaints have been filed. He could be missing $350, $400, 600 in his paycheck. This is the first time in my life I have seen such serious and frequent errors.

My friend got $ MD less [sur une paie]resumes those who agree to address us. Since he is still on station at CSI, he agrees to conceal his identity.

“From the beginning, we started having problems with payments. I have not worked since, I have never seen so many. »

– A quote from A Neptune’s protection using security

Another agent who is devoted to Radio-Canada believes the company still owes him thousands of dollars. Society, he says, is too badly organized. He argues that it sometimes took Neptune months to fix his payroll errors.

Resources were largely insufficient, the union also notes.

Normally, there should be 250 officers in the Immigration Holding Center. But he still lacked at least a hundred agents. They made small parts. It generates work, more absences and amplifies the problem, Pierre-André Blanchard describes.

When there is a lack of staff for several weeks, several months, finally, the workers are burned out and do not want to work overtime, continues the agent who spoke to us.

In an internal email, commissioned by Radio-Canada, the director of the CSI deputy, mentioned in early January, the lack of surveillance. [qui] harms the health and safety of the site. Eutropia confirmed by communion.

The president of Local 931 said it puts the safety of both inmates and workers at risk.

At one point there wasn’t even enough staff to manage the fire, a security officer told Radio-Canada.

The work environment remains invaluable. If there is room, physical intervention, agents are not enough to move, another agent promises.

The latter remembers the early days of Neptune. Some, he said, had no uniforms. Some were in jeans and running shoes, without safety shoes.

Asked by Radio-Canada about these irregularities, Neptune’s security manager declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements.

In recent years, Neptune has received hundreds of millions of dollars in public contracts across the country, including maintaining markets and police stations. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Sûreté du Québec and the Quebec Ministry of Public Security are calling for a security agency, which was the lowest allowed by the calls for tenders.

Badreddine Ahmadoun and Robert Butler

Photo: Radio-Canada

A CEO with two identities

Enquête’s plan revealed that the big Neptun boss uses a double identity in conducting his business.

Robert Butler, who presents himself as the company’s CEO in court, also uses the name Badredddine Ahmadoun to run other businesses, including the Ontario real estate company Land/Max.

Presenting yourself as another person or under two identities is fraud, explains Martin Valesius, a lawyer and professor of law at the University of Montreal.

Contacted by Radio-Canada, Robert Butler claims to have changed his name, but refuses to provide proof. It is not your problem that it is true or not true. By name, he said.

The merchant also denies that he is the prince of Neptune. However, last October, the one who handled the meeting of agents of the Immigration Monitoring Center on behalf of the company, tells us the Teamsters union.

[Robert Butler] The law has its own book. He thought himself above all laws. Is it in the labor records, or labor standards or whatever. He did not care, according to one of the sources who were close to the operations of the security agency.

After the revelations of the Enquête, the Minister of Public Security of Quebec, Francis Bonnardel asked the Private Security Bureau to complete the necessary verifications on the Neptune files.

A review of the desired rules

In the eyes of the Teamsters union, this situation should force Ottawa to review its rules for awarding contracts.

Clearly, the government should question itself. One is choosing the cheapest translator. But to do so without criticism is imprudent. You have to research the companies if they have the tools to deal with it, estimates Pierre-André Blanchard, who mentions the small training given to managers.

The prison guard takes several months of training. But for the surveillance agent, everything is done in the space of a week. This is important, but dangerous work. It is, he said.

Neptune could lose the right to obtain and execute public contracts in Quebec. Radio-Canada has learned that the authority des marchés publics is planning an investigation into this company. In an email, AMP confirms that its checks with Neptune Security have been completed. […] It is decided that we will write soon.

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