Members of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) and Unifor packed the New Brunswick legislature in protest of legislation they say will result in a shift of power toward employers and ultimately, wage suppression.
“The premier today said that he had consulted and talked to businesses, business groups,” says Patrick Colford, NBFL president. “Labour is just asking for the same thing. We’re asking to be consulted and this isn’t just a union issue it’s an all-worker issue.
“Workers in this province haven’t been heard and we just want our chance to be heard,” Colford added.
According to the NBFL they met with the provincial government last fall but despite being advised more meetings would take place, they were unable to secure one with elected officials.
“This is very sneaky, very draconian on the part of this Liberal government.”
Unifor’s Atlantic regional director Lana Payne says the province has left them in the dark as well and they’d still be unaware of wage suppression plans if the government had it their way.
“This proposed legislation, which we haven’t seen yet except in a four-point plan memo that the minister sent to some stakeholders outlining what they were going to do,” said Payne. “So we have a number of very serious concerns with the bill.”
“We have never seen anything like this proposed for private sector bargaining at any time anywhere in the country,” Payne says.
The two groups have sent the province a formal letter requesting a meeting and to ask that any changes to labour laws be put on hold until full consultation with the affected parties has taken place.