Greens: Conservatives Working Against Workers

The Green Party is proud to join today’s international May Day celebrations, especially at a time when workers’ rights and security are clearly under attack by the Harper Conservatives.

Also known as International Workers’ Day, May 1, a national holiday in more than 80 countries, recognizes the achievements of the global labour movement.  Sadly, under the guise of “austerity,” many of these gains have been threatened.

“May Day 2013 – and beyond – is a time for Canadians to ‘push back’ against the various moves by the Conservatives to weaken everything from union rights to pay equity, public pensions to EI,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Also, the expansion of temporary foreign worker programs has been dragging down workplace rights and protections, along with wages.   The program changes announced in the budget implementation bill will mean nothing if, as in the past, enforcement is weak.

The Conservatives have sabotaged employees’ right to strike by bringing in back-to-work legislation against Air Canada, Canada Post, and Canadian Pacific Railway workers, and have refused to support workers victimized by mainly transnational corporations exporting jobs to lower-waged countries.

Bill C-377, now in the Senate, will allow the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to police how trade unions spend money over $5000.  Even Conservative Senator Hugh Segal has called this “bad legislation, bad public policy and a diminution of both the order and the freedom that should exist in any democratic, pluralist and mixed-market society.”

As well, Canada’s minimum age laws are woefully inadequate.  In some provinces, these laws have actually been weakened, dropping the minimum age to 12 years.

“The Green Party reminds Canadians of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that placed collective bargaining under the protection of the Charter, and stated clearly that labour rights are human rights,” said Green Party Labour and Employment Critic Brian Timlick. “We fully support those rights and are working to create a society where they are genuinely respected and put into practice.”

“We support the impressive efforts of groups like Common Causes and the Québec Coalition against Employment Insurance Reform which have launched rallies against recent EI and other cuts,” said May.