OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 9, 2023 /CNW/ – Today marks a significant victory for Canadian workers as new federal anti-scab legislation ensures workers’ right to strike without the threat of employers using scab labour to needlessly extend labour disputes or attempt to starve workers out.
“Working people and unions have organized and fought for this moment for decades,” says Unifor National President, Lana Payne. “Generations of workers have stood courageously on picket lines in this country defending their right to strike and to fair and free collective bargaining. Some have paid a hefty price. This legislation is for all those workers who never gave up. When we organize. We win.”
The new legislation comes after Unifor, and other labour organizations, fiercly advocated for the Liberal government to make good on its promise to ban the use of replacement workers.
Unifor lauds Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan for delivering on his commitment to ban the use of scabs in federal workplaces and the NDP for brokering this vital legislation as part of the confidence and supply agreement.
“Anti-scab legislation incentivizes employers to negotiate and settle fair collective agreements,” says Unifor Québec Director, Daniel Cloutier. “Contracts are settled at bargaining tables and strikebreaking efforts, such as the use of replacement workers, undermine the collective bargaining process by delaying negotiations and minimizing the crucial power that the withdrawal of labour provides workers.”
Between 2013 and 2020, labour disputes occurred in approximately 2.1% of Unifor contract negotiations with less than 10% of those disputes involving scab labour. The three longest disputes in the union’s history involved the use of replacement workers. While the incidence rate is low, the level of impact that scab labour has is high, in terms of how this practice increases duration of the dispute, and its negative consequences on labour relations.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the federally regulated private sector, representing more than 66,000 workers in federally regulated sectors including transportation, media, telecommunications, and financial services.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector representing 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.