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Court rejects Pallister’s attempt to limit collective bargaining

June 11, 2020 - 3:00 AM

WINNIPEG—A Manitoba court has ruled that the so-called Public Services Sustainability Act violates the right to collective bargaining protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Free and fair collective bargaining is a right that workers have fought for,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “That right is a threat to the conservative forces that seek to undermine public services. Today’s court victory is a victory for both workers and the Manitobans that rely on our excellent social programs.”

Unifor joined other unions in a coalition called the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) to launch this court challenge. Today’s ruling will allow collective bargaining in the public sector to resume without the threat of unconstitutional legislation to undo workers’ gains.

Unifor says that the performance of Manitoba’s public sector workers during COVID-19 underscores their value, and the obligation of the Government of Manitoba to ensure they work under safe and fair conditions.

“Public sector workers have served Manitobans with skill and grace during a very difficult period,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “It is a relief that their rights have been upheld after Premier Brian Pallister did everything he could to undermine their workplace rights.”

In the wake of this ruling, Unifor is calling on the premier to reverse recent layoffs at public institutions such as Manitoba Hydro and the University of Manitoba.

“Premier Pallister should do the right thing and cancel his heartless layoffs. It’s time he sit down with public sector workers on solutions, not cuts,” said McGarrigle.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype/Facetime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).