VICTORIA, April 1, 2019 /CNW/ - Dozens of Unifor members from across the province are gathering in Victoria for three days of lobbying aimed at improving working conditions for the people of B.C., including children.
"Its 2019 and yet women in B.C. still make significantly less than their male colleagues," said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. "For every dollar a man earns per hour, women make 65 cents. That's close to the highest wage gap in Canada and B.C. is long overdue for pro-active pay equity legislation."
Unifor is also urging the government to strengthen the Employment Standards Act (ESA). It was gutted by the previous government in 2002, leaving vulnerable workers open to widespread abuse, wage theft and safety issues. "For example, 2,000 children under the age of 15 were injured on the job in the last decade," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's B.C. Area Director. "Tragically, some suffered life altering conditions."
Changes to the labour code are also needed, so more workers can unionize, without employer intimidation or fear of losing their jobs. The rate of unionization in BC has fallen from 36 per cent in 1998 to 30 per cent today. Unifor is calling for a return to a card based system of certification, so workers only need to sign up once to become unionized.
Unifor members will also ask MLAs to consider declaring October 4th the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Awareness Day. "In B.C. there is a troubling history of violence against women and girls in the Indigenous community. Recognizing this crisis of violence with a dedicated day provides a step towards reconciliation," said Warnock.
Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: please contact Unifor National Communications Representative: Catherine.Pope@unifor.org or (604) 388-4398