Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Right to strike upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada

An historic decision by the Supreme Court of Canada is being celebrated across the country by unions of workers.
In its ruling, the highest court in the country declared the right to strike as a basic human right protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The ruling was in response to a case filed in 2008 by a coalition of Saskatchewan unions, including the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE), protesting the provincial government’s decision to declare large portions of public sector workers as providing 'essential services' and, therefore, unable to strike.
The Supreme Court rejected the government's decision and deemed it unconstitutional. In the ruling, Justice Rosalie Abella stated, "Public sector employees who provide essential services undoubtedly have unique functions which may argue for a less disruptive mechanism [than strikes] when collective bargaining reaches an impasse, but they do not argue for no mechanism at all...Because Saskatchewan’s legislation abrogates the right to strike for a number of employees and provides no such alternative mechanism, it is unconstitutional.”
New Brunswick Union President Susie Proulx-Daigle called the decision historic for the rights of workers across the country.
"Our highest court has affirmed this essential right and will not allow governments to arbitrarily remove it," Proulx-Daigle said. "Unions across the country will be positively affected by this decision. It also shows that unions are an integral part of our country and our communities."