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Federal “anti-scabs” bill adopted

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press The bill tabled by Federal Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan last November will now be referred to the Senate.

Lia Lévesque – The Canadian Press

Published at 7:40 p.m.

  • Canada

The bill which will prohibit the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout in companies under federal jurisdiction was finally adopted unanimously, on third reading, Monday afternoon.

In the end, 317 deputies voted in favor, including the conservatives, and none against.

Waited for decades by the unions, but criticized by employers' associations, the bill tabled by the federal Minister of Labor, Seamus O'Regan, last November will now be referred to the Senate.

Although there has been a similar law in Quebec for 47 years, it did not exist at the federal level, therefore affecting businesses such as telecommunications, rail transport, financial institutions, broadcasting and air transport.

The bill provides for a period of one year before its entry into force. When tabling the bill, Minister O’Regan explained that it was at the request of the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). This administrative tribunal specializing in labor law on the federal scene needed a certain amount of time to carry out training, the minister explained. Initially, there was even talk of a period of one and a half years.

Although it prohibits replacing workers on strike or locked out with workers replacement, the bill provides an important component on the maintenance of activities in the company during the conflict, for reasons of health, safety or if there is an environmental risk or deterioration of the equipment.

Thus, upon issuance of a notice of negotiation, the parties will have 15 days to agree on maintaining certain activities for these reasons. If they do not agree, it will be up to the CCRI to decide.

Federal workers

Members of the Videotron unions in Gatineau and the dock workers at the port of Quebec, both locked out for seven and 20 months respectively, attached to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), affiliated with the FTQ, were present in Ottawa for the adoption of the bill.

“These two groups were spearheads in the fight for pass this anti-scab law. If the latter already existed, these people would not be in the street,” underlined Frédéric Brisson, general secretary of CUPE in Quebec.

The president of the FTQ, Magali Picard, was also present in Ottawa for the event.

For Josée Lussier Hall, a Videotron Gatineau employee who has been locked out for seven months, this bill “brings hope.” “It’s a big step forward. »

Political parties

At the Bloc Québécois, MP Alain Therrien said he was “satisfied, but not completely”. The one-year deadline before the bill comes into force, although it has been shortened, still bothers him. “We don’t understand that; 12 months is already way too long. You never know what might happen. »

A sign of the laborious work that was accomplished before reaching this point, the Bloc Québécois had already tabled 11 bills on this subject over the years.

For NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, this is “a historic day.” “With this bill, the bosses, the big bosses, will not be able to continue to exploit you in the future. We are going to stop the scabs, we are going to stop the strikebreakers. »

Although the Conservatives voted in favor of the bill this time, Mr. Singh said he fears for the future, if their leader, Pierre Poilievre, is elected in the next election.

“On this bill and on all bills that “impact” workers, unions, I have fears based on the facts, based on the records of Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives, who will attack the rights of unions and workers. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116