Labour Code changes favour business

Once a month, North Okanagan Labour Council President David Doran writes a column about labour issues in Kelowna's Capital News newspaper. Here's his column for April, 2002:

The provincial government has issued 29 proposals in 18 topical areas in respect to changes to the Labour Code. There is also the invitation for additional proposals.

The process is biased in favour of employers already. The first proposal is to make the changes. Of the remainder:

  • 18 proposals favour business

  • seven proposals involve cost cutting measures that would have very significant impacts on the role of the LRB, and the quality of justice for workers.

  • two proposals are about the review processes and should be dealt with before any substantial proposals are reviewed.

  • one proposal is required by a Supreme Court ruling overturning LRB policy that infringed on the free speech rights of workers.

  • none of the proposals would benefit working people although one would benefit anti-union employees - I count that as pro-business.

These proposals are not housekeeping changes. They would tilt the Code heavily in favour of union-busting activities by employers.

The whole process of changes to the Code should be done under Section 3 of the existing code in which a committee comprised of a labour relations expert from the labour side, one from the employer side, and a respected neutral party, come together to develop a broad consensus on future directions for labour relations law in British Columbia.

In opposition, the Liberals were in favour of striking a committee to conduct a review, under Section 3, that all interested parties would be able to contribute to.

The last review did provide the stakeholders with the opportunity for input and some of their suggestions were heeded by the government of the day. Representatives of the Business Council made a key recommendation that given the deteriorating state of the economy, the panel should refrain from recommending any changes to the Code at that time unless there was consensus among major stakeholders to proceed on specific changes.

The Liberal labour critic asked the Minister why he was he ramming changes down the throats of British Columbians before workers and business had a say in those changes.

These points still apply today. However this government is grossly short on meaningful consultation.


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