Public service unions unite to condemn Bill-C-59
The three largest unions representing federal public service workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) condemned Bill C-59, the omnibus 2015 Budget Implementation Act, in their presentations this week before the Senate and House standing committees on finance. The three unions are part of a broader alliance of 17 unions including the IBEW which represent federal public service workers.
Bill C-59 gives the Conservative government the power to amend certain provisions in federal government employee contracts unilaterally without having to negotiate changes with their unions.
The message from unions advocating on behalf of public service workers was clear: the provisions in Bill C-59 that trample on collective bargaining rights and will cause irreparable damage to labour relations must be rejected.
I believe the changes brought about by Bill C-59 are illegal and unconstitutional because they interfere with “meaningful collective bargaining” which the Supreme Court has confirmed is protected by the Charter. Bill C-59 unfairly and unnecessarily interferes in the collective bargaining process.
We and the other federal public service unions together recently filed a complaint with the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) asserting that the measures included in the December 2013 omnibus BIA – Bill C-4 – contravene ILO conventions that protect free collective bargaining and the right to strike. The unions are preparing for further legal action against Bill C-59 should it become law.
Daniel J Boulet
Business Manager / Financial Secretary