Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Out of acrimony a chance to do good

Update - to view some of the consensus recommendations to the OH&S Committee of Review click here.

In this column, Leader-Post political guru Murray Mandryk suggests that the NDP will soon be bringing in amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to strengthen the harassment provisions of the Act. The reason - to prevent another Murdoch Carriere situation from happening again. (Carriere was charged and found guilty of harassing 9 women in his workplace and was fired from his job for doing it). The media and the Sask Party have been on a feeding frenzy about it ever since the legislature reconvened this spring.

You see, for a month now - the Sask. Party has been beating up the NDP over Carriere and now they are even running ads (according to Mandryk and others - false ads) in an attempt to score cheap political points. The Sask. Party has been squealing like stuck pigs over this issue as they pretend to be the defenders of the poor downtrodden workers.

I support the provincial government bringing in amendments to the OH&S Act to improve the anti-harassment provisions of the Act - they should have done it long ago. The labour movement has been calling on government for years and years to address workplaces that allow such horrible situations to occur. And we've been calling on government to provide legislative protections to workers who are the victims of harassment, violence and abuse.

But guess what - the Sask. Party (and their parents the Conservative Parties), at the behest of certain elements of the business crowd have been blocking it every step of the way. Why? Because they describe workplace health and safety as "red tape" and they accuse it of being "union friendly labour laws that scare business away". The hypocrits.

Both the NDP and the "New West" Sask. Party opposition should hang their heads in shame over the matter of Occupational Health and Safety. A couple of years ago there was a comprehensive review of the OH&S Act which resulted in a report containing a couple of hundred recommendations. These recommendations were achieved through consensus between labour and business.

How many of those recommendations do you think have been implemented to date?

The answer - none.

The reason - because inspite of the consensus that was achieved (a concensus that business participated in) - the Sask. Party and their unenlightened business buddies have been engaged in a massive campaign of misinformation and a constant barrage of negativity by suggesting that improving Saskatchewan's Labour Laws will scare away business and investment.

I say - bring on the "harassment" amendments to the OH&S Act. And while we're at it - bring in the other 200 concensus recommendations to fix the OH&S Act. Recommendation that business and labour have already agreed to.

Let's see if our politicians are prepared to stand up for the working women and men who are suffering from unhealthy and unsafe workplaces every day in this province.

Are our politicians really concerned about workers being protected in the workplace? Do they really care about stopping workplace harassment? Or is what we've witnessed over the past month - just political grandstanding?

Update - to view some of the consensus recommendations to the OH&S Committee of Review click here.


Anonymous said...


So many good reports and their recommendations -- arrived at through consensus -- seem to be shelved and gather dust. Governing through wedge issue polling then fills the vacuum.

Could you point the direction to those recommendations, or post them?


Larry Hubich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Hubich said...

Thanks Grant,

I have put a link at the start and end of the article which will take you to the posted consensus recommendations. Reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Council is a "Joint Labour Employer Council".