Skip to content

Northwest MP celebrates anti-scab legislation

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, left, and NDP labour critic Matthew Green at the Rio Tinto smelter in Kitimat as part of Green’s tour of the Northwest earlier this month. (Contributed)

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach is celebrating the passage of new anti-scab legislation, a milestone for which he says organized labour and his NDP party have spent years advocating.

“This is a historic win for working people,” said Bachrach. “The use of scabs has long undermined workers’ right to collectively bargain, which is key to securing better pay and conditions.”

Bill C-58, aimed at prohibiting the use of replacement workers during strikes in federally regulated workplaces, passed the House of Commons with unanimous support on May 27. The legislation, a key element of the supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberals and the NDP, received 317 votes in favour and none opposed.

Bachrach noted that the NDP has introduced nine anti-scab bills over the past 15 years.

“For almost two decades, the Liberals and Conservatives have voted against better worker protections. Pierre Poilievre has voted against anti-scab bills eight times while simultaneously giving corporations billions in handouts,” Bachrach said. “At a time of record corporate profits, this law ensures working people have a fair chance at the negotiating table – a fair chance to negotiate what they deserve.”

READ MORE: Union issues 72-hour strike notice at B.C.’s massive Gibraltar copper mine

Canada’s largest union in the federally regulated private sector, UNIFOR, with locals across the Northwest, has long supported the bill. The union argues the case for the legislation is clear, as replacement workers undermine the right to strike by reducing the impact of labour withdrawal and business disruption.

“While employers argue that scabs are needed to ‘keep the lights on,’ they conveniently overlook the fact that no ban on replacement workers has ever been implemented without a clause mandating the maintenance of essential services,” a union statement reads.

“The real reason employers deploy scabs is simple: to break the power of the union and keep business going as usual.”

About the Author: Quinn Bender

Read more