Armoured car industry's cuts to staff, training leaving guards vulnerable: union

Union wants federal standards

A union representing thousands of Canadian workers in armoured cash trucks believes thieves are capitalizing on industry cutbacks, putting guards at risk.

A Toronto guard was shot four times early Thursday during a run at a bank near Avenue Rd and Lawrence Ave, when he and his partner were ambushed by three men.  Police say it is the second time the pair of guards had been targeted in recent weeks.

Craig Hallikainen has worked on an armoured vehicle in Toronto for seven years.  He services the same area, but different banks than the one attacked.  He has not been threatened.

"The only difference in our crews is, I have a three person crew and they have a two person crew", says Hallikainen. "It makes a big difference."

Hallikainen says by paring teams down, cash truck companies can present banks and other clients with lower bids for service and win more contracts.  But he says being down a body can leave guards vulnerable.  On Hallikainen's three-person team, the driver never leaves the vehicle and can relay messages about potential dangers outside by radio.

He says more and more, companies are cutting the number of staffers on their cash trucks, and in some smaller communities, leaving guards unarmed as they move huge quantities of money in the middle of the night.

Hallikainen and his union, Unifor are renewing their call for federal standards for the staffing of armoured vehicles and guard training.

As it is, Hallikainen says training at his shop is "completely inadequate" and admits to feeling unsafe at work "a lot of times".  Across the industry, he says training practices are "erratic", different from place to place, company to company.

He says Thursday's shootout underlines the importance of solid training. "You have to be prepared because everything happens so very, very quickly."

Hallikainen says while armoured car companies train guards "as best they can", it comes at a cost. He suggests workers may not the getting the learning and preparation they truly need to feel safe in order to keep costs down and keep companies competitive.

RELATED: Three arrested after armoured guard shot

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  1. Dean posted on 06/20/2014 12:05 AM
    I agree with the union on this matter.
    Business can turn its back on their employee's but when their safety is in jeopardy they have gone much too far.
    1. Darwish posted on 06/20/2014 04:02 AM
      @Dean I worked for this company for about five years during a transition period from the three person crew to the current two which the union is appearing to be very much against. Let me make one thing very clear, the union is the one that accepted this transition. Without the union's approval several years ago, the company would not have been able to do that and simply remove a gaurd from each crew. During this transition, many of my coworkers lost their jobs at a price which the union accepted. That price was a substantial pay increase for the workers that will remain after getting rid of the third crew member which in return ment an increase in union dues, so more money in the pocket of the union. During that time, the union had half the employees sold on the idea of a two person crew, and it was either accept it or the company will lose business. For the union to be jumping on this insident and use it for their advantage is despicable, and in my opinion they are as guilty as the company for what happened to this man.

      I feel sorry for the gaurd and his family. I wish him a speedy recovery.
    2. Ben posted on 06/20/2014 07:32 AM
      @Darwish @Darwish you are correct the union did agree to the two man off model, "Your Union".

      "Our Union" did not.. and that is why you are 2man crews and and we are 3man crew.

      The "Unifor" membership will never put a price on safety by downsizing for a pay increase.

      Thought and prayers to the injured guard and family.

    3. Dave posted on 06/20/2014 08:54 AM
      @Darwish Just cuz the teamsters sailed their membership down the river doesn't mean the whole industry should pay the price. Btw $1-5 more an hr minues one person per crew @ $23hr means less union dues. Do the math. Members of all the armoured car industry must demand seafty. When it comes to a shoot out the bad guys don't care where their bullets land... It's just a matter of time before an innocent person is hurt or worse. Public Saftey is now also In jeopardy. Please right your MP demand ledgaslation for the industry.

      My thoughts are with the crew and their loved ones.
  2. Ben posted on 06/20/2014 07:38 AM
    @Darwish @Darwish you are correct the union did agree to the two man off model, "Your Union".

    "Our Union" did not.. and that is why you are 2man crews and and we are 3man crew.

    The "Unifor" membership will never put a price on safety by downsizing for a pay increase.

    Thought and prayers to the injured guard and family.

  3. john posted on 06/20/2014 02:45 PM
    give real weapons not the little pee shooters thay got . how about giving them a nice big ass desert eagle .357 . that will give those assholes wake up call . and whip them a new asshole at the same time .
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