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REGINA: The Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on the provincial government to implement an anti-scab law to ban employers from hiring workers to cross picket lines during strikes or lockouts.

The long-lasting labour dispute at the Biggar Public School Division shows there is a definite need for anti-scab legislation in this province, said Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan.

The 46 education workers, members of CUPE Local 2128, have been on strike since February 4. The division board has demanded several concessions in the areas of seniority rights and job security.

Instead of bargaining in good faith with the workers, the school division board has resorted to hiring scabs to clean schools and work as teaching assistants in an attempt to break the strike, said Graham.

If we had anti-scab legislation in this province, like Quebec and B.C. have, this strike would have been over a long time ago. The absence of such legislation gives employers the ability to prolong labour disputes, causing unnecessary conflict and strife.

Graham said the experience elsewhere shows that anti-scab legislation reduces the length of strikes and picket line violence. It will also help level the playing field for working people, so they can achieve fair wages and working conditions.

CUPE Saskatchewan is urging the provincial government to introduce and pass anti-scab legislation in the current legislative session.

In Saskatchewan, CUPE represents over 23,000 public sector employees who work in health care, municipalities, school boards, universities, libraries and community-based organizations.

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For more information contact:
Tom Graham 229-8171