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Unifor urges Ottawa to move quickly to modernize labour standards

August 30, 2018

OTTAWA – The federal government’s plans to modernize labour standards in the federal jurisdiction can’t happen fast enough says Unifor, after a report on government consultations was released today.

“It is good to see that they are listening to workers and understand that labour standards created in the 1960’s do not work for today’s gig economy with far too many precarious, part-time workers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

The federal consultation report focuses on five themes, including removing eligibility requirements to maternity and other leaves, supporting work life balance, good wages and benefits, revising termination provisions, and protecting employees in non-standard and precarious employment.

Employers increasingly use temporary or part-time employees to reduce costs and enhance their flexibility which forces workers to juggle multiple jobs without benefits. Unifor’s submission to Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour addressed these concerns with several recommendations.

Unifor’s submission also urged Ottawa to end the abusive practice of contract flipping, which is common in several sectors including airports, bussing, and offshore oil, and lets employers undermine seniority and substitute cheaper, non-union contractors for a unionized one.

Several unions, including Unifor also asked the federal government to prohibit employers from paying employees less because of their employment status, such as whether they are full or part time.

Unifor is urging Ottawa to follow Quebec’s lead and expand the disparity of treatment clause which means two tier wages, or two tier pension plans or benefits can no longer be negotiated.

“Ottawa should go even further than Quebec and force employers with pre-existing two tier pay scales to implement fair, equal pay for all,” said Renaud Gagne, Quebec Director.

Unifor has also suggested a modernized labour code would remove incentives for employers to reduce the quality of jobs by making jobs temporary or part-time. This can be accomplished by enacting and enforcing rules that prohibit different treatment of employees based on their employment status.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Director Natalie Clancy:  (416) 707-5974 (cell)