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Doug Workman, president of the Nunavut Employees Union.

The president of the Nunavut Employees Union says he's not surprised by the sudden resignation of most of the board of directors at Qulliq Energy Corporation.

Last week, chair Simon Merkosak and five of six board members resigned, citing their disapproval of several recent decisions made by the Nunavut government, without prior discussions.

That included the sudden firing of president and CEO Peter Mackey on Nov. 27, 2013.

NEU president Doug Workman says the union has had serious questions for several years about Qulliq operations.

“Our viewpoint was that the senior management of the Qulliq Energy Corporation had control of the organization,” Workman says.

“We couldn't figure out, you know, who was really in control… Whether the minister had some influence in the past, or how much say the board really had. We had lots of questions about it, because we did have some concerns since 2010 on how Qulliq Energy Corporation was being run."

Workman says he's waiting to find out who'll join the remaining director, George Hickes Senior, on QEC’s board.

And he says the union wants answers about what is going on at the power utility, and how decisions are made.

Allegations of discrimination, lawsuits

In the last four years, QEC has been plagued with lawsuits and allegations of discrimination.

Last fall, a Nunavut court judge awarded almost $134,000 to Amy Hynes, a former employee, who claimed officials at the company made her job untenable.

She was the second to sue the company, after Sarah Kucera launched a similar suit seeking $440,000 in damages for mismanagement, breach of contract and wrongful dismissal.

But the most serious allegations regard discrimination at the corporation.

In her lawsuit, Kucera said that she was disgusted by the way some senior employees at the company regarded Inuit staff.

One other former employee, Chris Cousins, still has a case before the courts.

Cousins alleges he was punished for defending Inuit rights in the workplace.

In July of 2011, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. condemned the company, with president Cathy Towtongie saying, “These incidents show a consistent pattern of discriminatory practices by some senior QEC managers toward Inuit employees."

The complaints began with Robert Tookoome, who told the CBC he was dismissed from the company after only four months on the job. He says he was told that he didn’t fit in, and was offered a $13,000 severance package. 

In February 2011, the power utility stated publicly that it has been “eminently fair” in all its workplace practices.