Saskatchewan government proposes new workplace legislation but rules out public hearings.
Regina (09 May 2012) - Every Saskatchewan worker is in danger of losing basic workplace rights and protections yet most will have little or no opportunity to have their voices heard by government as it moves to re-write the province's labour laws, according to the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU/NUPGE).
"Fundamental, longstanding rights that all workers enjoy are at risk," says SGEU President Bob Bymoen. "Annual vacation, the 40-hour work week, rest breaks, public statutory holidays, job protection for new parents and workers with disabilities -- all of these are up for grabs. Every employee in this province is affected by the planned overhaul of our labour legislation."
Yet, despite the impact on workers in every workplace in every corner of the province, government is limiting the consultation period to just 90 days. No public hearings will be held.
"Unions, like SGEU, can and will speak out for the rights of unorganized workers, because they are most vulnerable. But those workers deserve the opportunity to speak for themselves about the value of the protections and rights they stand to lose," Bymoen says.
"Government is extending invitations to special interest groups, such as rural municipalities and other employer groups to take part in the consultation process. But how will it ensure that the voices of average workers are heard?" asks Bymoen.
"Saskatchewan workers deserve a full and fair opportunity to speak out about changes that will fundamentally affect their lives and the lives of their children. We urge the government to establish a meaningful consultation process before it embarks on what seems to be a single-minded effort to make the workplace less humane," according to Bymoen.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE