NUPGE president James Clancy says decision by United Nations body 'damages the human rights reputation of both the province and the Canadian government.'
Ottawa (29 March 2010) - The condemnation by the International Labour Organization (ILO) of anti-labour legislation in Saskatchewan should prompt both the province and the Harper government in Ottawa to respond quickly, says James Clancy, president of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
"The ILO’s ruling is very troubling for both Saskatchewan and for Ottawa," Clancy says. "It damages the human rights reputation of both the province and the Canadian government."
The decision reinforces the principles and spirit of collective bargaining rights spelled out in a landmark 2007 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, Clancy says.
"It's wrong for a government to introduce legislation that negatively impacts workers' rights without first engaging in full and open consultations with their unions. Neither the Wall government in Saskatchewan, nor any other government in Canada, can simply bulldoze away the rights of working people," he says.
"In a democracy workers must be consulted and their views must be taken into account. This decision gives us confidence that our courts in Canada will have similar views of Bills 5 and 6 and will find them to be unconstitutional."
Clancy urged Saskatchewan not to ignore the ILO or to try to avoid taking the corrective actions proposed by the United Nations body.
"Canada has undertaken as a country to uphold the UN conventions it has signed over the years. In the case of this contravention of those obligations, the ILO has asked that it be regularly updated on the steps taken to implement its recommendations," Clancy noted.
"The National Union will continue to monitor every aspect of this troubling case. We will not rest until corrective action is taken and the government of Saskatchewan demonstrates respect for the basic human rights of working people in the province."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
• ILO blasts anti-labour laws adopted by Saskatchewan
• Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Backgrounder
• Text of the ILO decision on Saskatchewan labour laws