Ottawa, June 3, 2015 – The three largest unions representing federal public service workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) condemned Bill C-59, the omnibus 2015 Budget Implementation Act, in their presentations this week before the Senate and House standing committees on finance. The three unions are part of a broader alliance of 17 unions which represent federal public service workers.
Bill C-59 gives the Conservative government the power to amend certain provisions in federal government employee contracts unilaterally without having to negotiate changes with their unions.
The message from unions advocating on behalf of public service workers was clear: the provisions in Bill C-59 that trample on collective bargaining rights and will cause irreparable damage to labour relations must be rejected.
“We believe this is a violation of our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If the government can do this to the federal public service, they can do it to anyone,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President.
“The changes brought about by Bill C-59 are illegal and unconstitutional because they interfere with “meaningful collective bargaining” which the Supreme Court has confirmed is protected by the Charter,” added Emmanuelle Tremblay, President of CAPE.
“Bill C-59 stacks the deck against unions at the bargaining table by granting Treasury Board the power to unilaterally impose certain terms and conditions of employment,” concluded PIPSC President Debi Daviau.
The 17 federal public service unions together recently filed a complaint with the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) asserting that the measures included in the December 2013 omnibus BIA – Bill C-4 – contravene ILO conventions that protect free collective bargaining and the right to strike. The unions are preparing for further legal action against Bill C-59 should it become law.
- PSAC and PIPSC will be presenting before the Senate National Finance Committee on Wednesday, June 3 at 1:45 pm, 160-S Centre Bloc;
- PSAC, PIPSC and CAPE will be presenting before the House of Commons Finance Committee on Thursday, June 4 at 8:45 am, 237 Centre Bloc.
For interview requests
- PSAC: Shelina Merani, Communications, PSAC, 613-293-9324, firstname.lastname@example.org
- PIPSC: Peter Bleyer, PIPSC, 613-292-6929, email@example.com
- CAPE: Pierre Lebel, Communications, CAPE, 613-236-9181 or 613-889-1027, Plebel@acep-cape.ca