Tragic death shows urgency for fair labour laws: Candlelight Vigil at 6:00 PM (Toronto)

 

We are just learning news that a worker has been killed at Upper Crust bakery in Toronto. This is the 4th workplace death at a Fiera Foods-related company. The previous three workers who were killed, were all hired through temporary agencies. Fiera Foods was the subject of an undercover investigation by Toronto Star’s Sara Mojtehedzadeh.

We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of the deceased. And in light of the tragedy, we are calling an emergency vigil tonight at 6:00 PM outside Queen’s Park (Toronto)Please let us know if you can make it, and bring candles and flowers with you if possible. 

The tragic death that took place last night, is not an isolated event! This a real life consequence of what happens when laws fail to protect us. 

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Terry, by tabling Bill 47 this week and threatening to rollback our new laws, the Conservative government has declared war on the most vulnerable workers in the province. If passed, Bill 47, would:

  • reduce penalties assigned to employers for violating workplace laws
  • make it easier to deny workers any employment standards protections — including EI, CPP and WSIB — by misclassifying them as self-employed contractors, instead of employees
  • make it easier for employers to fire workers who decline last-minute shifts
  • eliminate paid sick days and reduce access to personal emergency leave
  • impose a real dollar wage cut for Ontario’s lowest paid workers
  • allow employers to pay part-time and temporary agency workers less than their full-time or directly-hired counterparts

Unfortunately, the attack on workers doesn’t end there. Yesterday we learned from a leaked government memo that proactive inspections done by the Ministry of Labour have been halted since September, despite being proven as an effective method for catching bad bosses. In other words, corrupt employers are getting the green light to continue breaking the law.

Also since introducing Bill 47 on Tuesday, several Conservative MPPs, Premier Doug Ford included, has been engaged in a smear campaign to paint our grassroots movement for decent work, as fringe, as vandals, as radicals following a break-in that took place at Labour Minister Laurie Scott’s constituency office.

Let us not be distracted from the real threat coming from Queen’s Park. This is why, across the province, faith groups, health organizations, community agencies, labour activists, students, teachers, and workers continue to organize actions (you can see upcoming events by clicking here).

News of this devastating death just makes it crystal clear that the protections we are seeking are crucial for the safety and well-being of our communities. The government must WITHDRAW BILL 47. Failure to do so will mean forcing millions of workers into poverty and make their lives even more unsafe and uncertain.

If you can — please join us tonight at 6:00 PM outside Queen’s Park for the emergency vigil. If you cannot come in person, please help us by:

Inviting your friends to the vigil on Facebook – click here to spread the word
Emailing Premier Ford and telling him to withdraw Bill 47 – click here to add your voice
Tuning into the live-stream of the candlelight vigil at 6:00 PM via the campaign Facebook page
Donating to the campaign, to help us have a fighting chance against the greedy corporations that are spearheading the campaign to roll back our new labour laws – make a donation now

Thank you for your ongoing support,
We will not stop organizing to ensure $15 & Fairness for all.

Fight for $15 and Fairness
http://www.15andfairness.org/

Unions stand up to BHP at AGM

 

Unions protest against BHP outside the company’s AGM in London.

Unions stand up to BHP at AGM

18.10.2018

IndustriALL Global Union and affiliates representing BHP workers in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Colombia challenged the mining giant’s unsustainable and dangerous business model, at its annual general meeting in London on 17 October.

IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, questioned the world’s biggest mining company’s over its claims of sustainability, which he argued is not just about economic performance but also the environment, society and labour.

As a multinational company, BHP should adhere to international standards and create safe, decent work, while respecting social dialogue, social protection and workers’ fundamental rights, said Özkan.

 

BHP has laid off 20,000 workers in two years, while distributing a record US$6.3billion to shareholders in 2018. BHP now employs around 26,000 permanent staff compared to 34,500 contract workers.

Jeff Drayton, from Australian union, CFMEU, questioned BHP over the correlation between the rise in contract labour at BHP’s Mt Arthur coalmine in New South Wales and an increase in safety incidents. In a few short years, contract labour has grown from around 10 to 50 per cent of a total workforce of 1,600. Contract labour is paid around 40 per cent less at the thermal coal mine.

Steve Smyth, from CFMEU in Queensland, demanded to know why BHP workers suffering from coal dust diseases are not being reported as ‘lost time injuries’, despite being months off work. Earlier this year, miner Tyrone Buckton, passed away from coal dust diseases, silicosis and black lung, after decades of working at BHP.

While BHP owned up to two deaths at its mines over the past year, Aldo Amaya from IndustriALL affiliate, Sintracarbón, asked why the death of Carlos Roberto Urbina at the Cerrejón mine in Colombia was not in the annual report.  BHP has a 30 per cent stake in the mine. He also accused BHP of using technology in cabs to penalize drivers if they are tired.

Also in Latin America, IndustriALL mining section co-chair Lucineide Varjão from Brazilian union CNQ/CUT, asked BHP what it planned to do about 2,000 workers who lost their jobs following the disastrous collapse of Fundão Dam in 2015, which killed 19 people, among them 14 workers.

IndustriALL’s mining co-chair Steve Hunt from the United Steelworkers in Canada, called on the company to cooperate with unions and carry out joint audits of their mines.

 

Meanwhile, BHP’s chairman Ken MacKenzie refused to discuss legacy issues from mines it spun off in a separate company, South32.  IndustriALL affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa have been severely affected by job cuts at the company.

“BHP says safety is its first priority but from our experience this is just not the case. The responses we got from at the annual general meeting today were wholly inadequate. If BHP wants to be safe and sustainable, it must start by including workers and trade unions at every step,” said Kemal Özkan.

While in London for the AGM, IndustriALL’s BHP global network meeting met from 16 to 18 October and agreed to focus on issues of contracting, health and safety and organizing women workers at the company. BHP plans to employ 50 per cent women by 2025.

Canada’s unions applaud asbestos ban regulations

 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Canada’s unions applaud the federal government for introducing regulations to ban the import, export, manufacture, sale and use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The regulations, announced in December 2016 will come into force on December 30, 2018.

“This is a critical step on the long road to banning asbestos, and will, without a doubt, save lives for generations to come,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff.

The new regulations, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999 (CEPA), prohibit the import, sale and use of asbestos, the manufacture, import, sale and use of products containing asbestos, as well as the export of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, with a limited number of exceptions. Combined, this is a historic step to protect the health of Canadian workers and the public, and to address Canada’s history as an exporter of this deadly substance. With these regulations, Canada now joins 55 countries that have banned the use of asbestos.

Yussuff said that it will be crucial for protection from exposure to extend to everyone living in Canada, including those living in First Nations housing filled with asbestos-ridden vermiculite insulation.

“Because these diseases have a long latency period, the danger is not over, but this is the beginning of the end. Now we need the provinces and territories to show the same leadership that the federal government has shown and move quickly to take stock of where asbestos is, harmonize regulation around disposal and remediation, and ensure a comprehensive response,” he said.

“We can all breathe easier. The introduction of these regulations in a timely manner is the result of years of advocacy and hard work by people dedicated to safer, healthier workplaces. Today, I celebrate and thank the government for giving the next generation of Canadians a better future, free from the pain and suffering caused by asbestos,” said Yussuff.

A robust enforcement strategy to ensure compliance with these new regulations will be important to a successful implementation and to addressing the legacy of asbestos-contaminated workplaces.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government on the broader whole-of-government strategy to protect Canadians from the harms of asbestos,” added Yussuff.

Fight for workers rights

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is in danger of being canceled by the current government. We need to do what we can to stop this from happening. By sending a message to our MMPs, we become a collective voice in this fight. We can’t allow the Ford government to strip workers of they’re rights! To send an email, click on the link below.

In Solidarity

http://www.myrights.ca/email_mpp