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Improvements needed to protect workers as Parliament resumes debate on anti-scab legislation

February 26, 2024
A parade of striking Steelworkers marching down a street waving, waving Métallos flags.

OTTAWA – The United Steelworkers union (USW) welcomes the resumption of debate in the House of Commons on the anti-scab legislation, an important step before its consideration in Committee. Bill C-58 is an important milestone in the ongoing fight for workers’ rights and a historic victory for the entire labour movement.

“The United Steelworkers has spent decades pushing for federal anti-scab legislation,” said Marty Warren, USW National Director for Canada. “While we welcomed the introduction of Bill C-58, there remains crucial work to be done to restore fairness and equity in collective bargaining for workers in federally regulated industries.”

Anti-scab legislation already exists in Quebec and British Columbia and has been studied and debated for decades. It has been clearly shown that this type of legislation reduces the intensity and duration of labour disputes, increases workplace stability and restores the balance of collective bargaining. The use of replacement workers also undermines the right to strike protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by tipping the scales against workers.

“In its current form, the bill includes exemptions and loopholes that undermine its effectiveness, allowing certain categories of workers and volunteers to continue their activities during strikes and lockouts,” said Warren. “The inclusion of an 18-month delay before the bill comes into force is unacceptable and slows down the protections that workers desperately need.”

“Bill C-58 must come into force as soon as it receives Royal Assent in order to bring swift protection to workers facing long and intense labour disputes,” Warren said. “The Steelworkers urge all Members of Parliament to work together to strengthen the bill in addressing these critical concerns and pass this important legislation for workers without more delays.”

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USW Communications
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