Safe and Fair Working Conditions Are Equally Important to Canada as the Transport of Goods

NDP MP Libby Davies, reminded the Liberals and the Conservatives today that safe and fair working conditions are equally important to Canada as the transport of goods. Davies, responding to a Liberal announcement, was not surprised to learn that the Liberal Party had once again abandoned working Canadians and called for back to work legislation in the legal CN rail strike.

“They joined the Conservatives and voted against leveling the playing field with anti-scab legislation, and now they are ganging up to undermine a legal strike, with hundreds of workers fighting for safe and fair working conditions” said Davies, the NDP Spokesperson for Labour.

“UTU members only want to get back to the negotiating table, and have agreed to minimal disruptions and continued commuter transportation. The workers are acting in good faith while the Liberals and Conservatives are offering an escape route for CN with a call for back to work legislation,” said Davies.

A Transport Canada March 2007 safety review of CN revealed that there are high safety defect rates at the company, and while CN is addressing some concerns, the report also showed that workers are under so much pressure to produce, there is a culture of fear of job loss that could compromise safe operations.

Davies added, “The union voted overwhelmingly to reject CN’s offer and so they should get back to the table. Instead, Liberal and Conservative threats to force workers back on the job can now be used as a bargaining chip by CN, erasing any chance for a fair collective bargaining process.”

The NDP will not support the back to work legislation, which would allow an appointed arbitrator to simply accept either the employer’s or the union’s proposal.