SUMMERSIDE — Neither the provincial or the federal governments received much love Saturday during the P.E.I. Federation of Labour annual convention.
Carl Pursey, president of the federation, said his fellow union members are understandably nervous about the security of their jobs, their safety while on the job and their retirement prospects, thanks to the efforts of both levels of government.
“They’re trying to destroy unions and draw everything down to the bottom so nobody has any money to live,” Pursey told those in attendance at the convention, which was held at the Loyalist Lakeview Resort in Summerside.
Amongst the emergency resolutions passed during the meeting were commitments to support public sector unions in their efforts to oppose provincial changes to their pensions; fight the federal omnibus Bill C-4; and various other federal initiatives.
Bill C-4 was a recurring theme throughout the meeting.
Two of the resolutions implemented at the convention stated that the bill would both give employers absolute authority to declare what is an essential service in times of strike, and that workers would be put at risk because of changes to the definition of “danger” in the Canada Labour Code.
It’s stacking up to be a busy year, said Pursey.
“It means we’re fighting bills in Ottawa and here and everywhere now,” he said.
“(Prime Minister Stephen) Harper has in his agenda to try and turn things into the way they are down in the States — take away human rights and have a race to the bottom.”
The provincial government has stated that its proposed changes to public sector retirement funds are necessary to ensure their continued viability.
Meanwhile, the federal government has stated that its changes to the labour code will not restrict a worker’s right to refuse dangerous work.