Lo­cal labour coun­cil de­cries re­peal of labour re­forms

Wiarton Echo - - NEWS - SCOTT DUNN

The Grey Bruce Labour Coun­cil has de­nounced the On­tario gov­ern­ment’s planned roll­back of labour re­forms as a “be­trayal” of work­ers.

“The (Pre­mier Doug) Ford gov­ern­ment talked about ’for the peo­ple’ through­out the elec­tion,” a news re­lease from labour coun­cil pres­i­dent Kevin Smith said.

“. . . Ford and his sy­co­phan­tic cau­cus have be­trayed the very peo­ple that he claimed to want to work for,” coun­cil vice-pres­i­dent David Trum­ble said in the state­ment.

The labour coun­cil sup­ported Bill 148’s fo­cus on help­ing peo­ple with pre­car­i­ous work, in low-paid part-time and con­tract jobs - with a $15 min­i­mum wage, sched­ul­ing pro­tec­tions and mea­sures that made it eas­ier to union­ize.

The labour coun­cil also took spe­cific aim at Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party whip, and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thomp­son, the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter. The labour coun­cil said its del­e­gates met with both MPPs be­fore the elec­tion and left not see­ing eye-to-eye, but with as­sur­ances they were heard.

The labour coun­cil now ac­cuses the MPPs of pay­ing “lip ser­vice” to their con­cerns and scrap­ping Bill 148s with­out a man­date.

They said the MPPs “tossed work­ers and many of their con­stituents aside to en­sure their con­tin­ued po­si­tion as lap­dogs of or­ga­ni­za­tions that have ad­vo­cated against work­ers and im­prove­ments for work­ers.”

Thomp­son’s of­fice is­sued a state­ment on be­half of the min­is­ter and Walker which said they “lis­tened to small busi­ness across On­tario.

“We firmly be­lieve that by re­peal­ing Bill 148 we will re­verse the dam­age done to our econ­omy by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing the more than 300,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs lost in On­tario in the last 15 years.

“We par­tic­i­pated in ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions with busi­nesses and unions who all ex­pressed the need to lighten fi­nan­cial bur­den and red tape on busi­nesses. Re­peal­ing Bill 148 will solve key busi­ness con­cerns, en­sure rea­son­able reg­u­la­tions and make On­tario open for busi­ness once again.”

The labour coun­cil said it would like to learn which mem­bers of the Owen Sound and District Cham­ber of Com­merce sup­ported the re­peal of the Lib­er­als’ labour re­forms and pa­tron­ize only those busi­nesses whose own­ers sup­ported the Lib­eral re­forms, Trum­ble said in an in­ter­view. How that would hap­pen he didn’t know.

Also, he noted On­tario saw job growth of more than 50,000 jobs since Bill 148 started com­ing into ef­fect last No­vem­ber - “rather than this hue and cry that busi­ness was be­ing driven away,” Trum­ble said.

For him, the big­gest dis­ap­point­ment of the gov­ern­ment’s new leg­is­la­tion is rev­er­sal of gen­eral sup­port of work­ers in pre­car­i­ous jobs. The next big­gest con­cern is what he said was a rev­er­sal of ef­forts to step up en­force­ment of health and safety laws.

The Mak­ing On­tario Open for Busi­ness Act (Bill 47) will freeze the $14 min­i­mum wage un­til Oc­to­ber 2020, fol­lowed by in­creases tied to the in­fla­tion rate, rather than have it rise to $15 per hour Jan. 1.

It will scrap 10 emer­gency leave days for work­ers and re­place them with three un­paid days off for per­sonal ill­ness, two off for be­reave­ment and three off for fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, also un­paid. Em­ploy­ers once again may ask for a sick note.

The Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment will end pay eq­uity between part-time and full-time work­ers and re­verse changes that made it eas­ier for some to join a union.

While em­ploy­ees won’t be able to refuse a shift sched­uled less than 96 hours be­fore its start any­more, em­ploy­ers still will have to pay for a min­i­mum of three hours work if a shift is can­celled or re­duced.

Do­mes­tic and sex­ual vi­o­lence leave will re­main as be­fore, as will three weeks va­ca­tion en­ti­tle­ment af­ter five years.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.