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The Liberal government cannot be trusted when it comes to making changes to the Labour Code, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill charged today.

How can we have a fair and balanced Labour Code from a government that does not respect collective bargaining and does not honour collective agreements, said ONeill in response to a government discussion paper tabled yesterday in the Legislature.

The government claims that A Review of Labour Relations in British Columbia is intended to be a consultation. But there is no balance in the way this is being done.

Changes proposed in this discussion paper were written by business, for business, said ONeill. The government is obviously afraid that any real consultation will get in the way of making the changes their business friends want.

This government is not living up to the commitment to a balanced and independent process for labour code changes imbedded in the Labour Code itself, says ONeill.

Section 3 of the Labour Code empowers the government to appoint an independent committee of special advisors to review the code and make recommendations to government. The current Labour Code was a result of lengthy consultation and recommendations from an independent panel in 1993.

Former governments have used Section 3 of the Labour Code to try to strike a balance in labour relations in B.C., said ONeill, This government intends to amend the Labour Code, not to improve the ability of unions and employers to build better relations, but to give employers more power over unions and the workers we represent.

The process the government is using to make Labour Code changes is fundamentally flawed, said ONeill. We are calling on government to avoid a crisis in labour relations in British Columbia by sending the Discussion Paper to an independent panel of special advisors under section 3 of the Labour Code.

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Contact:
Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President 604-916-8444
Marie DellaMattia, CUPE Communications 604-291-1940