Labour Code changes target collective bargaining: CLC’s Georgetti calls it affront to democracy

October 24, 2013
OTTAWA ― Amendments that the Conservative government has slipped into a giant budget bill is an attack on the constitutional right to collective bargaining, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“The Conservative government is using a 308 page budget bill to do by stealth what they will not do by the light of day,” says Georgetti. “This government has a habit of using this technique to push things through it knows will be unpopular so that there is no chance for real debate. It’s playing partisan politics with their employees’ livelihoods.”

Georgetti was responding to the government’s tabling the second part of its Economic Action Plan 2013 Act in the House of Commons on October 22. He says, “This Bill proposes big changes to the Public Services Labour Relations Act (PSLRA), especially around essential services, the dispute settlement mode and grievance procedure. There was no consultation on this with any of the parties affected.”

Georgetti says the budget bill would undermine the right to collective bargaining by unilaterally designating services as essential. “There’s been no problem raised with the existing process to designate essential services, so what is the government trying to fix here?”

The government is also changing the existing arbitration process for the federal public service, and putting the lives of workers in the federal jurisdiction in danger by introducing amendments to change the definition of dangerous work.

“What we’re seeing here are amateurish moves that will disrupt the delicate balance of long-standing labour relations practices in the federal public service, and put the health and safety of federal workers at risk, all for purely ideological reasons,” Georgetti says. “The unintended consequences will likely be more disputes than Canadians have ever seen before ― and Canadians should ask to what end?”

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.

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