Unions accuse government of capitulating on labour law
The Federation of Labour is accusing the provincial government of capitulating to the interests of business, with a proposed amendment to the labour relations act.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour said in a release the province is looking to change the act to accommodate businesses over workers.
On Monday, Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency Dan Crummell introduced Bill 22 into the House of Assembly, proposing an amendment to the labour relations act.
Federation president Mary Shortall said the changes wouldn't make sense after the province announced two years ago it would be making changes to the act.
"What has happened in those two years to justify this flip-flop? It is an affront to the workers of this province that government did this with absolutely no consultation with the labour movement," said Shortall.
"The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has sided with their business friends over the rights of workers."
In 2012, then labour minister Terry French announced amendments to the legislation that made union certification simpler, including automatic certification when more then 65 per cent of workers signed on.
The federation said government has gone back on its own decision to make the process more accommodating for workers.
"This change has nothing to do with democracy in the workplace — it's all about capitulating to the business interests and making it more difficult for workers to organize themselves into unions," said Shortall.
"If the government under Frank Coleman is going to operate like a Harper government, then I expect it will be a very short lived one."
Crummell is defending the move, saying workers and employers would rather have a secret ballot to join a union.
However, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said workers weren't properly consulted before government made the changes.