Montréal, QC – “The race to the bottom is not where we want to be in this country,” stated Employment Minister Patty Hajdu at the end of a round table consultation with representatives of the IAM, CLC and other unions concerning changes to the federal Labour Code. The Minister spoke of how the Code needed updating to reflect current economics and work place environments.
“Our biggest concern is the issue of contract flipping,” said IAM Political Action Grand Lodge Representative Lou Pagrach. In the federal jurisdiction, contract flipping is practiced by airport authorities which use third party contractors and switch them every three or four years to avoid any increase in costs. “Other CLC affiliates quickly adopted the IAM position that contract flipping must be addressed in the new revision of the Code,” explained Pagrach. “We are demanding that the provisions for a ‘sale of business’ be applied and included in the Code to address contract flipping.”
Other discussions centered on the misclassification of so-called ‘self-employed contract employees.’ In this case an employer hires contractors to circumvent the provisions of the Code and avoids paying taxes or workers compensation payments as an example. Another issue is the lack of inspectors enforcing the Code. There are only 159 inspectors looking after 18,000 federally regulated employers and 900,000 employees.
Another issue is how a worker can refuse unsafe work. Just before the Harper Conservatives left power in 2015, they redefined the Code concerning what constitutes danger and what an employee could refuse. Attending Unions feel this issue needs to be addressed.
The Minister pointed out that these issues needed to be dealt with quickly and the goal is to bring forward changes by the summer of 2018.
Photo – Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour – Patty Hajdu ( middle second row) met with representatives of the IAM, CLC and other unions last week in Montréal, to discuss changes to the federal Labour Code.