B.C. government pressed to strengthen labour laws at Vancouver rally

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Global News

Union workers in B.C. are calling on the province to commit to legislating successorship rights for workers in the Labour Code.

The organizer of the Justice for Janitors Solidarity rally, Christine Bro, said that’s why they came together at Vancouver City Centre on Monday.

Bro said it was in support of the more than 50 janitors who are losing their jobs at the TransLink Canada Line because a new company has been awarded the cleaning contract — and not hiring the existing union workers.

“When the new company takes over the contract, they should be obligated to rehire the workers and respect any terms and conditions of employment including their union contracts,” Bro said.  “So if we were to have successorship rights in the BC Labour Code, this would close the loophole companies are currently using to exploit … they are currently exploiting actually to circumvent workers rights to form a union and negotiate improvements.”

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Bro adds that contract flips are too common and they’re affecting all workers in the building service sector.

“Most workers in B.C. have successorship rights but these rights don’t apply in situations where … a building service contract flips and that’s the loophole that employers are using to lower working standards in this province and keep workers at poverty wages with no power to make more improvements,” Bro said.

The ministry said it’s aware of the concerns associated with contract re-tendering.

It said in February it appointed a panel to review the BC Labour Relations Code to ensure unionized workplaces support fair laws for workers and businesses.

It said the minister responsible recently received the panel’s report and is now reviewing and considering it before making the report public in October.