Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 01, 2007 16:21 ET

Canadian Labour Congress/C-257: Working Families Expect their MPs to Be on their Side

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 1, 2007) - Members of Parliament will vote on March 21, in third reading, on Bill C-257, which would make it illegal for employers to hire replacement workers while their own employees are locked out or on strike. According to the Canadian Labour Congress, the media reports announcing the demise of this legislation are premature.

"We still expect this to be a free vote. We still expect that a majority of MPs will vote in favour of this legislation because they will listen to their hearts and to the voices of the majority of their constituents who are people who work for wages," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

The media reports reflect the results of big business' intense fear mongering about C-257 focussed on the continuation of "essential services" during labour disputes. Essential services are already protected by both the Canada Labour Code and other statutes that deal specifically with federal public services. Passing C-257 does nothing to diminish those protections. Those protections are contained in section 87.4 of the Canada Labour Code which are in effect and will remain in effect.

The maintenance of essential services has to be agreed upon by the parties to a dispute to the satisfaction of the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB), before any work stoppage. In its rulings, the CIRB has confirmed seven times in the last six years that section 87.4 is an essential services clause.

During its review of Bill C-257, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) of the House of Commons heard from many witnesses: 13 representing working people, 32 representing employers, and various technical experts. What stood out from those hearings were the irrational arguments business put forward to confuse and scare MPs.

"We do not doubt many MPs' Ottawa office received letters, phone calls and visits in recent weeks from the business lobbyists. However, MPs will be home in their ridings over the next two weeks and they will hear their constituents."

"Canadians expect the kind of balance and fairness in labour relations that Bill C-257 will add to the Canada Labour Code. That is why a strong majority of MPs supported the bill, in second reading, four months ago. We would expect them to do so again in 20 days, because their constituents asked that they remain on their side," concludes Georgetti.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jean Wolff
    613-526-7431 and 613-878-6040