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January 31st, 2023

NDP urges the liberals to immediately adopt anti-scab legislation

OTTAWA — Anti-scab legislation is needed urgently to protect good union jobs, say NDP Labour Critic Alexandre Boulerice, NDP Labour Deputy Critic Matthew Green and National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Mark Hancock. To kick off the new parliamentary session, the NDP and CUPE joined forces in calling on Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to not drag their feet on adopting anti-scab legislation to prohibit the use of replacement workers in labour disputes.

“More than ever, workers need security, and bargaining power,” said Boulerice. “Before the holidays, the NDP tabled a bill outlining our vision for the government to prohibit the use of replacement workers during lockouts and strikes, in the workplace or virtually. The bulk of the work is done. To make it law, all the Liberals need to do is pass it, which they have the power to do. Workers across the country deserve to have their bargaining rights protected. Anti-scab legislation will help a long way in achieving this.”

Scabs prolong strikes and lockouts and give employers almost no incentive to reach a fair deal — and both Liberals and Conservatives refused to ban replacement workers during labour disputes for years. Nine anti-scab bills have been introduced by the New Democrats over the past 15 years. In 2016, when NDP anti-scab legislation finally came to a vote, 140 Liberals and 76 Conservatives voted to block it. Workers deserve better.

"Some big bosses aren’t afraid to replace workers out in the cold fighting for their rights. And for decades, Liberal and Conservative governments have given them a free pass,” said Green. “Now more than in generations, workers need and deserve the kind of fair bargaining that will raise their wages so they stop losing ground to inflation — and deliver the respect that they deserve.”

“It is appalling that in the 21st century, the Canadian system still allows employers to lock out their employees and then hire replacement workers to do their jobs,” added Hancock. “All to avoid negotiating a fair contract with their employees. This must be stopped.”

As part of the Supply and Confidence agreement, the Liberals committed to introducing anti-scab legislation for federally regulated industries by the end of 2023. New Democrats will hold them to account and will always fight for workers and their right to fight for better wages and work conditions.