On Tuesday, Finance Minister Joe Oliver presented a budget that promises even more cuts in public services when they are needed more than ever, benefits the wealthy yet again—and threatens to suck the life out of our collective bargaining rights.
The government has announced that, if it can’t negotiate the confiscation of our sick leave, it will legislate it away instead. In other words, it intends to pre-determine the outcome of the collective bargaining process—to make that process a sham. Can you think of any better example of bargaining in bad faith?
Moments after the budget came down, I started to receive messages from PSAC members and fellow citizens urging us not to give up. Believe me, I have no intention of doing so.
The government’s threats against the PSAC will be a front-and-centre topic at our Triennial Convention next week. That’s going to be the start of a membership consultation to determine what steps we’ll be taking to respond to the government’s plans. Recent court decisions have given constitutional protection to collective bargaining rights and we will make sure to find a way to have those rights respected.
Our members and our bargaining teams will not be intimidated by these threats. We will do what has to be done, whatever it takes.
Sick leave has been a top priority for our Union. We will continue to defend it strongly, as our members expect. The government’s “go to work sick” plan is a giant step in the wrong direction. It’s bad for members who fall ill, bad for their co-workers, and bad for Canadians who depend upon their services.
And now our very right to negotiate a collective agreement is under attack.
The Harper government has demonstrated since it was first elected in 2006 that it will keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing, until Canadians stand up and say No. Have we not all reached that breaking point by now?