Friday, 2 April 2010

In Brad Wall's Saskatchewan, worker rights don't matter

On March 29, 2010 the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour released the March 24, 2010 United Nations (UN) agency International Labour Organization (ILO) decision respecting the Brad Wall signature labour legislation - also known as Bills 5 & 6.

You can download the ILO decision here...

The verdict: Bills 5 and 6 violate Saskatchewan workers' international labour and human rights.

The ILO has requested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper (the Federal government) ensure that Brad Wall (Sask. Party government) engage in meaningful consultations with the labour movement to fix the labour legislative mess Wall has created, and to repair the damage done. The government is asked to report progress to the UN agency.

And what is the response of Wall's labour minister, Rob Norris?

He insults the ILO by saying the following:

“This is non-binding and certainly I don’t think this is some of the best work from the ILO,” Norris said.

“The ILO has offered an opinion that’s non-binding,” he said. “The analysis is incomplete. Certainly from where we stand we have every confidence in both our essential services legislation and the amendments to the Trade Union Act.” [Province Will Ignore International Labour Ruling (NewsTalk 650, March 29, 2010)]

Not only is Norris out of step with the most highly respected business, labour, and government representatives in the world - when it comes to tri-partite evaluation of global labour rights and standards - he's also out of step with Stephen Harper's past federal Minister of Labour, Jean-Pierre Blackburn.

Blackburn said the following about the ILO in a speech to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on January 7, 2008:

“Through our membership in international organizations and in our bilateral relations with key partner countries, Canada actively works to ensure respect for internationally-recognized labour principles,” Blackburn told the audience.

“It is for this reason that Canada plays a leadership role in the International Labour Organization – the ILO - the UN specialized agency that advances internationally recognized labour rights. The ILO sets international labour standards and promotes decent work globally. It has a structure that is unique in multilateral organizations in that it brings together representatives of government, workers and employers to shape joint policies and programmes. Canadian governments, employer and worker representatives have long played important roles at the ILO.

“Fostering commitment to human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law are not only important ends in themselves, but crucial elements in creating security, stability and prosperity. The establishment of labour standards through the ILO and their effective enforcement are key to achieving this goal.”
It's time for Brad Wall to meet with labour and to consult in a meaningful and respectful manner.

Thanks to Joe Kuchta's Owls and Roosters blog for providing the research for this posting...


Al said...

Oh, Quit complaining. Under Brad Wall, Sask. has become a HAVE province for the first time that I can recall and I was born there in the thirties. And quoting a bunch of international "We can fix the world do-gooder organizations" that are as effective as the UN at maintaining world peace doesn't impress me either. How about some gratitude for where you live and the progress made in your province as to standard of living and security. You will increase your happiness quotient considerably!

Larry Hubich said...

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed with the SFL and the ILO and found that the Sask Party's legislation passed in 2008 is unconstitutional and has ordered the government to fix this mess.

Larry Hubich said...

Here's the decision in case you are interested in reading it: