As the Screw Turns

We said in an earlier post that labour relations were in for a rough ride under the Pallister government. It sure didn’t take long for that prediction to come true.

Pallister has started talking about trying to break collective agreements with public sector unions and introducing legislation to limit civil servants’ wages.

Refusing to follow the terms of a collective agreement is the same thing as breaking any legal contract and such a move would be hotly contested in court. Pallister says he needs to take such action to control spending, but in our blog on debts and deficits, we explained why this isn’t a real issue.

Then in his state of the province speech at the Chamber of Commerce Pallister outlined his next anti-labour move: to reduce the number of unions representing provincial employees. This move is also anti-democratic: workers have the right to organize their workplaces under whatever union they see fit.

We don’t know whether Pallister will be successful with these proposals, but what we do know for sure is that these moves are just two more turns of what is likely a very long screw.