Saskatchewan labour activists plan Employment Act fight-back

REGINA, SK, March 13, 2013 /CNW/ - More than 70 Local union leaders from across the province, members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, will gather in Regina tomorrow to map out a strategy to expose the dangers of  the government's Bill 85,  the Saskatchewan Employment Act.

"We are planning to meet with the premier, and lobby MLA's to alert them to the harm this potential legislation would cause to workers and the public," says CEP Western Region Administrative Vice-President Wendy Sol.

Bill 85 distills 900 pages of legislation into fewer than 200 pages and replaces 12 statutes with a single "labour code".  CEP is calling on the government to slow down the process of replacing every significant statute regulating employment and labour relations in the province. "It's impossible for unions, employers and even the government itself to grasp the full implications of this bill," explains Sol.  "There is simply too much that's been changed far too quickly."

"One thing we are sure of, however, is that many of the proposals in Bill 85 represent a step backwards for workers' rights." 

She notes that the new Employment Act would weaken unions by interfering with bargaining and dues remittance, restricting strikes, forcing small Locals to run costly audits, allowing for the decertification of a union at any time and removing successor rights for some of the most vulnerable workers.  It also eliminates the eight-hour workday, meal breaks and employees' right to refuse overtime in excess of 44 hours per week, as well as undercutting weekends and public holidays.

"The result of these changes to work time and scheduling regulations means more workplace injuries and more harm to overall health," says Sol.

Sol also points out that protection for workers' severance pay when an employer decides to relocate their business outside of Saskatchewan would be non-existent.  "This is what happened to our members at Mercury Graphics," she says, "after the employer locked them out and relocated the business to the US. Very long term employees were denied their severance."

SOURCE: COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

Wendy Sol (204) 781-3386

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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