CUPE Nova Scotia web banner. Images of 5 CUPE members at work, and the CUPE NS logo.CUPE Nova Scotia was pleased to see the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party, NSNDP, announce their intent to table anti-scab legislation today and firmly stands behind this first step to protect workers’ rights.

For too long, employers have been able to hire replacement workers to fill the gap left by striking workers rather than negotiating fairly. This practice directly undermines workers’ guaranteed rights and must be restricted in Nova Scotia just as it already has been in British Columbia and Quebec.

“During the school support staff strike last year, they were on the line for weeks longer than they should have been because their employer attempted to hire replacement workers to do their jobs,” said Nan McFadgen, CUPE Nova Scotia President. “Rather than working toward a fair deal with CUPE 5047, the HRCE wasted time and resources trying to replace them for the duration of the strike.”

The practice of hiring replacement workers, colloquially called scabs, has existed for as long as workers have been organizing for better working conditions and wages. It extends labour disputes for weeks, if not months, and undercuts the ability of workers to negotiate a fair deal at the bargaining table by removing their strongest leverage: the ability to withhold their labour.

“Provinces that have anti-scab legislation in place don’t have as many labour disputes,” said Kristin Welbourn, CUPE 5047 Acting President, “and when they do, they’re shorter because the employers can’t hire scabs to wait out their workers and force them back to work with a bad deal. This legislation would have been a huge support while we were on the picket line last year, and I’m happy to see that the NSNDP is tabling it now.”

CUPE Nova Scotia hopes to see this legislation pass with support from all parties, as it is a step toward protecting the rights of their constituents: the workers of Nova Scotia.