VANCOUVER It just got a lot harder to hold a decent-paying job in British Columbia and a lot more unfair in the workplace under the corporate labour code introduced today by the Campbell Liberals.
The Campbell government is trying to undermine the labour movement by passing legislation that makes it more difficult to join a union and changing the code to a corporate code not a labour code, CUPE BC President Barry ONeill said.
The Liberals have introduced legislation that will make the intimidation of workers in a union organizing drive a legal right for employers. This will send a clear message to B.C. workers: Either heed the employers advice or be fired, ONeill said. The new legislation will enable employers to unduly interfere in a workers right to join a union by calling meetings where employers will be able to counsel workers not to join a union.
Employers now try to coerce workers not to join a union even with the protection of the code, he added. With these changes, workers will know in advance that they will be intimidated if they are caught talking union in a work site.
The Liberals also introduced changes to the purpose section of the code that will make corporate interests the primary interest in B.C. labour relations. Previously this section was meant to minimize labour strife.
These changes will see strife between unions and employers raised to a new high, ONeill said. Were going back to before the Second World War when unions were forced to break the law to get the government and employers to listen to the concerns of working families.
Any changes should be made through Section 3 of the code, ONeill said. It allows for an appointed tribunal to judge public, union, and employer input and then make balanced proposals based on workplace practice.
The government, however, has made these changes and then promised to set up a Section 3 panel under the code.
Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President (604) 916-8444.