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Anti-scab bill defeat a betrayal

TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - The decision by the Liberal government to vote down legislation that would ban scabs in federal workplaces where there is a strike or lockout is a betrayal of working people across this country.

"The Liberal government came to power saying they would bring fairness to workplaces across Canada," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.  "With this vote, that promise is broken."

Bill C234, a private member's bill from NDP MP Karine Trudel (Jonquière) introduced last February, was defeated during second reading on Wednesday. Almost every Liberal MP voted against the bill, leading to its defeat in the House of Commons.

"When workers are forced on strike, they are standing up for the rights of all working people," Dias said.

"Allowing scabs to come in and steal jobs from unionized workers, as the Liberals have done with this vote, undermines the right to free collective bargaining and gives too much power in the hands of employers."

Dias said strong anti-scab legislation is needed at the federal level – where it would apply to federally regulated industries such as rail, banking or telecommunications – but also in every province across Canada. Only Quebec and British Columbia currently have anti-scab laws.

Unifor will continue to push for anti-scab legislation federally and provincially, and for any other measures to ensure a strong and free collective bargaining process in Canada, Dias said. The union's view is that scabs cause strikes to be prolonged, and give the employer little incentive to bargain with the union to reach a fair deal.

"The collective bargaining process cannot be allowed to be hampered by giving too much power to the employer. Anti-scab legislation is a vital part of making the process fair to all involved," Dias said.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.