Sunday, March 11, 2012

Conservative Government readies Air Canada back to work legislation

As early as this week the Conservative Federal Government has indicated that it will have back to work legislation that would force striking and locked out employees back to work.

Air Canada made a surprise move to lock out its pilots. This combined with a looming strike by another union representing ground workers led Labour Minister Lis Raitt referred the issue to the Canada Industrial Relations board. This move prevented the strike and lockout and meant that travel was not interrupted during the March break.

However the government wants something in place once the board gives its opinion on the issue. The Liberal leader Bob Rae tweeted:"If the government feels Air Canada is an essential service, they have to provide a fair arbitration process," The new bill could be table in parliament as early as this Tuesday.

David Ritchie Canadian vice-president of the International Machinists and Aerospace workers said:"And once again the heavy-handed government is upon us," Labour Minister Raitt defended the government move:"We know a work stoppage there is going to cause difficulty for the Canadian economy," "It's also going to cause difficulty for Canadian families on March break.""You're going to have a million passengers flying Air Canada in the next 10 days," The Conservative government no doubt has a political winner. No doubt a majority of the general public is probably in favor of no disruption over the rights of union workers to strike.

Stephen Harper our prime minister joined the chorus:"I'll be darned if we will now sit by and let the airline shut itself down," For more see this CBC article.

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