Tom Mulcair - P.E.I. labour

Tom Mulcair wastes no time diving into the senate scandal while addressing the P.E.I. Federation of Labour. (Federico Cahis/CBC)

The P.E.I. Federation of Labour is calling the federal government’s plans to strip certain public servants of the right to strike “an outright attack on workers.”

The federation is hosting its annual meeting this weekend in Summerside.

Members are tackling emergency resolutions ranging from planned provincial pension reform to Labour Code changes being presented in the implementation of Bill C-4.

President Carl Pursey said he believes the federal bill will weaken the right to refuse unsafe working conditions.

“It will be worse than any provincial legislation on health and safety. Well it's just an outright attack on workers. It’s an emergency resolution and it says to get rid of the bill altogether and to do everything that we can to get rid of it,” he said.

The second budget implementation act of Bill C-4, which was introduced by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last month, will make it illegal for any bargaining unit declared to provide an essential service to strike.

Instead, such workers will be forced into arbitration in cases of a contract dispute. The rule will apply to any union where 80 per cent or more of the positions are considered to be necessary for providing an essential service.

The federation represents about 10,000 unionized workers on P.E.I.

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was the guest speaker at the meeting.