Thanks to the innumerable contributions of generations of workers, Manitoba is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, said NDP Labour Critic Tom Lindsey, who today called on the Pallister government to reverse its anti-labour legislation.
“Manitoba was built on the strong backs, sweat, effort and skills of workers in every field of endeavour, from mining to agriculture to health care and education,” said Lindsey. “It’s a beautiful province and we can all be proud of calling ourselves Manitobans on this Labour Day.”
But the Pallister government has been steadily dismantling workers’ rights and undermining their ability to support themselves and their families, Lindsey noted.
“Everyone deserves a fair wage for each and every hour they work, but Pallister has frozen minimum wage for two years and froze future increases at the rate of inflation,” Lindsey said. “He and his cabinet took 20 per cent raises, but he sees nothing wrong with keeping many hard-working Manitobans in poverty.”
The Pallister government has also decided it can take away the rights of workers to collectively negotiate their wages in good faith. Bill 28, introduced in the spring, imposes a two-year wage freeze on thousands of Manitobans.
Bill 7, which was passed last year, makes it harder for workplaces to organize to improve working conditions and makes it easier for employers to hinder and intimidate workers who want to join or form a union. What’s more, the Pallister government has signaled it may weaken regulations protecting workers from exposure to toxic chemicals and poor air quality in the workplace.
“These actions show a deep disdain and disrespect for working Manitobans,” said Lindsey. “The NDP will continue to fight in and outside the Manitoba Legislature on behalf of workers, not just to protect existing rights, but also to expand workers’ rights in the workplace. Everyone deserves a fair wage and to know they are safe at work.”