MONTREAL, July 13, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Superior Court has
just delivered a major blow to the Harper government in a decision
involving the CBC's unionized workers in Quebec and New Brunswick. The
Court has ruled that a number of key clauses were unconstitutional in
the 2009 budget legislation which was passed on March 12, 2009.
It is a clear victory for CUPE Local 675 who challenged the legislation
for violating the right to collective bargaining, a right protected
under the guarantee of freedom of association in the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms. The bill actually overrode wage increases that
had previously been negotiated in the collective agreement with no
opportunity to renegotiate.
"Basically the Court ruled that the government should have allowed the
CBC to negotiate with the union. But as usual, the Harper government
chose to take the bulldozer route. It took a Superior Court decision to
remind them of the importance of freedom of association and the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Annick Desjardins, CUPE
representative and lawyer assigned to the file.
"The ruling comes as a relief to CBC workers. The Court is reiterating
that they should have a say when it comes to determining their work
conditions. It's a good thing we have the Charter and courts to keep
the Harper government in line and ensure that CBC workers' rights are
respected," said Isabelle Doyon, president of the union representing
Radio-Canada (CBC) office workers and professionals (CUPE 675).
According to the judgment (par. 184), the government's attitude is even
more surprising considering that evidence indicates that the Treasury
Board Secretariat was well aware of the principles established in the
B.C. Health Services judgment. This Supreme Court ruling confirmed that
collective bargaining in good faith is protected under freedom of
association in the Charter.
A complete copy of the ruling (in French) is available on CUPE's website
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada's largest union.
With around 615,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in
communications, health care, education, municipalities, libraries,
universities, social services, public utilities, transportation,
emergency services and airlines.
SOURCE CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES (FTQ)
For further information:
Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications, 438-882-3756
Annick Desjardins, CUPE lawyer, 514-795-7528