For this, the 42nd session of Parliament, the NDP has introduced federal anti-scab legislation as its first bill.
Introduced on Feb. 25 by the NDP’s deputy labour critic, MP Karine Trudel, the private member's bill would amend the Canada Labour Code to prohibit federal employers from hiring replacement workers in the event of a lockout or strike.
“When employers hire scabs during a strike or lockout, it’s unfair to workers and undermines their right to bargain collectively,” said Trudel. “Adopting this bill will send a strong message to workers across the country — the right to bargain collectively about their working conditions must be respected.”
Should it pass, the legislation would mirror similar provisions in Quebec and British Columbia, and will apply to federal employers, such as those in telecommunications, transportation and banking.
Anti-scab legislation has long been supported by unions, this time including the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which welcomed Trudel’s bill.
Mark Hancock, CUPE’s president, said the legislation “would give employers more incentive to sit down and negotiate with workers, and could lead to fewer and shorter strikes or lockouts.”