Jul 212023
dock worker with text: no back to work legislation!

Negotiate – Don’t Legislate!

Pressured by employers, the federal Liberal government is gearing up to force BC port workers back to work. This is an attack on the right to strike in Canada and must be opposed.

If the BC Maritime Employers Association want to see an end to the strike, they should negotiate an agreement that’s acceptable to striking workers and their union. This has to include real wage increases, job security against outsourcing and automation, and health and safety protections that workers and their families have a right to expect and employers have a responsibility to deliver.

Trudeau’s statement that the union’s rejection of the deal proposed by the Mediator is “unacceptable” is itself unacceptable. So is his decision to convene the Incident Response Group – an emergency committee previously convened to address the war in Ukraine and the Ottawa blockade, and never used to break a strike.

Further, the Liberals’ actions are a clear message to Maritime Employers that they don’t have to bargain, they just have to wait for back to work legislation to impose the deal they want. This is shameful and unacceptable.

Free collective bargaining is a right in Canada, and it means unions have the right to reject deals that are inadequate – including those tabled in mediation – and to strike to gain improvements to those deals.

It’s time the Liberal minority government recognized those rights. The NDP can and should exert more pressure on their Liberal partners in Ottawa and on the employers who have made enormous profits while workers continue to struggle with falling real wages and living standards and the constant threat of injuries, illness and layoffs.

The Communist Party stands four-square with the ILWU and their strike for decent wages, working conditions, job security and health and safety.

Unity of the labour and people’s movement in support of the ILWU and the right to strike is the key to victory. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

July 21, 2023