Machinests file complaint with ILO over Protecting Air Services Act (Bill C-33)

“We have asked the ILO to condemn the government’s action, and to use all available means to ensure that Canada meets its international obligations.” - Dave Ritchie, IAM Canadian General Vice President.

Ottawa (04 Oct. 2012) - In a recent news release, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced it has submitted a complaint to the International Labour Organization (ILO), protesting the Canadian government’s violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association and collective bargaining under international law.

In March 2012, the Conservative government pushed the Protecting Air Services Act (Bill C-33) through Parliament. This legislation effectively took away the bargaining rights of 8,800 IAMAW members employed by Air Canada, as well as several thousand members of the Air Canada Pilots Association. The government denied Air Canada workers the right to strike and forced them to accept binding final offer arbitration, under terms skewed in their employer’s favour.

“Free collective bargaining is an essential component of a free society,” explained IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “ The Harper government intervened unnecessarily in the normal bargaining process at Air Canada, on the behalf of the employer. The Conservatives have poisoned the atmosphere for collective bargaining in Canada, particularly in the federal jurisdiction. We have asked the ILO to condemn the government’s action, and to use all available means to ensure that Canada meets its international obligations.”

“Bill C-33 was a clear violation of ILO Convention 87 on ‘Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize’, ratified by the Canadian Government in 1972” added Ritchie.

The IAM, the largest union at Air Canada, represents line maintenance mechanics, auto mechanics, millwrights, electricians, inspectors, baggage handlers, cargo agents, technical writers, planners, instructors, cargo handlers, cabin groomers, aircraft cleaners, weights and balance agents, purchasers, expediters, as well as stores and clerical personnel.

More information: 

Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights: Labour Rights are Human Rights

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