06/27/2013 03:28 EDT | Updated 08/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Union denies fired BC Hydro workers aided grow-ops

Five BC Hydro workers were fired today for allegedly stealing equipment and facilitating the theft of electricity.

Their union is denying that workers aided the operators of marijuana grow-ops.

Three other employees remain under investigation, while another 10 people interviewed as part of the investigation have returned to work.

BC Hydro did not provide further details on what the electricity was used for.

"I'd like the public to know and focus on the vast majority of our people that do a very good job everyday ... and not let the inappropriate actions of a very small number of people taint the good work," said BC Hydro spokesman David Lebeter.

Doug McKay, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 258, the union the workers belong to, issued a written statement one week ago when BC Hydro launched the investigation and workers were sent home with pay.

"From what I’ve seen so far, our members are just doing their jobs. It’s not a lineman’s job to knock on doors and inquire whether a grow-op is inside. That’s the job of the police," he said.

"The union does not condone any illegal activity by our members. Nor do we condone a witch hunt. The sooner this thing gets sorted out the better. Our members don’t deserve to have this cloud of suspicion hanging over them. It’s easy to make allegations. No one reads the retractions later on.”

McKay emphasized that all of the workers who have been suspended are innocent, saying they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

BC Hydro says the RCMP are now deciding whether criminal charges should be pursued.