OTTAWA – NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Center) is introducing legislation today that would ban the use of replacement workers during labour disputes and work stoppages under federal jurisdiction.
The Bill is seconded by NDP House Leader and Labour critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East) and Yvon Godin (Acadie-Bathurst), NDP Whip and a former Staff representative with United Steel Workers of America (New Brunswick). Martin is also the former leader of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (Manitoba) and a carpenter by trade.
“Workers have the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to withhold their services in the event negotiations fail,” said Martin. “Using scabs to replace striking workers undermines those rights.”
The Bill would prohibit employers from hiring replacement workers to perform the jobs of workers who are on strike or locked out.
“I’m proud of my Labour Caucus members for leading the way in this issue of basic workers’ rights,” says NDP Leader Jack Layton. “This is one of the most basic principles behind our party – to help elevate living standards and working conditions in this country. And we’re going to use this minority Parliament to do just that.”
“We deliberately chose May Day, the International Day of Workers’ Solidarity to launch our Anti-Scab campaign,” said Davies. “Collective bargaining is one of the fundamental tenets of a free society and the NDP will always stand up for the rights of workers.”
“Anti-scab legislation means fewer and shorter strikes and lockouts and less likelihood of violence or property damage,” said Godin. “Anti-scab legislation helps keep workers on the job and businesses on the go.”
“Look at jurisdictions where you have anti-scab legislation,” said Godin, “there are fewer days lost due to strikes and lockouts. Disputes are settled quickly and peacefully because the system is working the way it was intended.”
Mr. Martin will introduce the Bill and give it First Reading during Routine Proceedings shortly after 3:00pm, Monday May 1st, 2006.