Labour Minister Lisa Raitt has now said that since Air Canada flight attendants are set to strike a second time, she want to look at changing the Canadian Labour Code.
Ian Lee, a labour expert at Carleton University in Ottawa, said he couldn’t remember a labour minister making a similar comment.
“This will become the pretext and the context to legislate changes to the act that — knowing where this government is coming from — will make it more difficult to go on strike,” Lee said.
Never mind that the agreement that has just been rejected by flight attendants was reached hours before the last strike deadline with the looming threat that if there was a strike, Raitt would move to legislate workers back to work. She has posed this threa tagain, despite the following statement Jeff Taylor, the president of the CUPE’s Air Canada branch’s, made with the new strike announcement.
“We ask the federal government, in the strongest possible terms, to respect our right to collective bargaining and not intervene unilaterally in this dispute,” Jeff Taylor, president of CUPE’s branch for Air Canada flight attendants, said in a statement Sunday night.
I think it is worth noting as well that striking is only the end result of years of discontent from workers, then months of unsuccessful negotiations to improve working conditions to a degree where money is not being made simply on the backs of workers (you know, the people doing the actual work). A strike is not something workers want. A strike means a loss of pay for workers who already feel their wages are too low. In the case of Air Canada flight attendants, a strike means walking off the job in a city across the world and either having to shoulder the costs of getting home or the costs of living there indefinitely.
For those who are frustrated with the strikes, then, for whatever reason, please consider that a good way to not have them is to have an employer meet the requests of their employees. Especially if striking is an ongoing theme with this particular company’s workforce.