March 19, 2021
Treaty 1 Territory, Homeland of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg MB—The Manitoba NDP is showing solidarity with front line workers and labour organizations by using its parliamentary privileges to delay the Pallister government’s regressive Bill 16 – The Labour Relations Amendment Act and ensure the bill is not guaranteed to pass in June.
“Working families have been under intense pressure in this pandemic, and their sacrifices have kept our province moving throughout lockdowns, but instead of respecting them the Premier and his government are trying to punish them,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “Just like his other labour legislation, Bill 16 doesn’t solve a problem, it causes more tension. We’re delaying this bill in the legislature so that workers can continue to access their rights and Manitobans can mobilize against this attack on working people.”
Bill 16 amends Manitoba’s labour laws to undermine the collective bargaining process, allow employers to fire striking workers and make it easier for bad employers to intimidate workers on the picket line. In one provision, Bill 16 eliminates the right of striking workers to access binding arbitration after sixty days of strike action or lockout.
By delaying Bill 16’s passage in the Legislature, the NDP is ensuring any workers who go on strike between now and the fall session will still be able to engage in arbitration. The delay will have an immediate effect on IBEW 2034 members, who are currently in negotiations with Manitoba Hydro over Pallister’s government-imposed wage freeze.
"Throughout the pandemic, we’ve all been relying on workers at the front-lines and behind the scenes to help us in these tough times," said Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour. “But the Pallister Conservatives are focused on creating more chaos by re-writing Manitoba’s labour laws to tip the scales against workers. Manitoba’s labour laws already get the job done, we can't let Pallister wreck what’s working."
“Taken together, Bill 16 will only lead to more strikes, lockouts and labour disputes in Manitoba,” said NDP Labour Relations Critic Tom Lindsey. “This bill is about attacking unions and it swiftly follows unconstitutional legislation that was meant to hurt working families. Manitoba workers deserve better.”