PSAC welcomes the tabling of long-awaited anti-scab legislation today that aims to ban the use of replacement workers under the Canada Labour Code.
Anti-scab legislation is critical to ensure that the right to free and fair collective bargaining rights is protected for all workers, and PSAC expects to work with the government to strengthen the legislation.
“The use of replacement workers drags out labour disputes and divides communities by pitting workers against each other,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Our members experienced this most recently during the Iqaluit Housing Authority strike. PSAC members were on the picket line for over four months while their employer brought in replacement workers to do their jobs instead of sitting down and negotiating with them at the table.”
PSAC has long fought for protections against the use of replacement workers to prevent employers from using union-busting tactics that undermine collective bargaining.
The federal bill also includes the concept of remote work, which will prevent an employer from using this route to employ replacement workers during a labour disruption.
“Free and fair collective bargaining – without the threat of replacement workers taking their jobs – is the best way to reach fair agreements and stable workplaces,” said Aylward.
While this legislation is a start, it’s not perfect. PSAC has significant concerns about the 18-month delay expected before the legislation comes into force, the many of the exclusions for replacement workers, and the requirement for the already overburdened Canada Industrial Relations Board to rule on every strike action. Following a thorough analysis, PSAC will put forward suggestions for amendments to ensure that we have anti-scab legislation that truly puts workers first.