The Manitoba NDP stands with labour leaders and working families against Bill 7 – The Labour Relations Amendment Act that was tabled in the Legislature by Pallister’s Conservative government today, said Labour critic Tom Lindsey.
“We are extremely disappointed that this government is attacking workers’ right to organize and to be protected from intimidation,” said Lindsey. “Brian Pallister has removed protections against intimidation, which we cannot accept. He has shown Manitobans that he’s in the pocket of big business and will not stand up for working families’ rights to safe workplaces, fair wages and a voice at the table.”
The current legislation includes uncompromising language that protects workers from intimidation in the workplace. The amendment introduced by Pallister’s Conservative government removes this language that ensures workers are “not subject to intimidation, fraud, coercion or threat.”
The current legislation is fair and balanced. It is highly respected and seen as a crucial part of the strong and stable labour relations in Manitoba.
Pallister’s government is also seeking to remove the provision that allows for fast-tracked certification when 65% of employees have freely declared they want to join a union by signing a union card. This was in place to eliminate the temptation and opportunity for unscrupulous business owners to intimidate their workers. The 65% threshold is the highest of all provinces and signed cards are reviewed independently by the Labour Board.
The change proposed by the Conservative government would require a secret ballot process that historically has opened the door for unscrupulous business owners to threaten employees before the vote—a tactic we have seen in this province before.
“The labour movement is an essential part of the fabric of our province,” said Lindsey. “Manitobans believe in collaboration and the right to a safe and fair work environment. Workers have the right to be heard. First they refuse to increase minimum wage and now this. We are very concerned about Pallister’s hidden agenda against hardworking Manitobans.”