NDP Leader Gerry Rogers says while it is good that government has finally, after repeated calls for intervention, stepped in after more than 650 days of US owned D-J Composites in Gander locking out its workers, it should not have taken this long.
“Labour leaders have been pushing this government to respond, to intervene, and to strengthen our labour laws. We commend Unifor for continuing to push government on behalf of the workers of D-J Composites. This has far reaching effects for workers around the province in a time of increasing globalization,” Rogers said.
The NDP Caucus has brought the issue to the House of Assembly repeatedly, calling on government to take action to amend the Labour Relations Act in light of this protracted lockout. Rogers has met with locked out workers and labour leaders on the picket line numerous times during the duration of the lockout.
“We’ve been calling on government to act on recommendation number 5 of the 2010 Industrial Inquiry Commission, headed by John Roil, which would allow for binding arbitration to settle disputes where collective bargaining has truly failed,” Rogers said.
Rogers says D-J Composites were found guilty – twice – of bargaining in bad faith by our Labour Relations Board.
“Had government implemented these recommendations, this dispute could have been brought to arbitration sooner. Instead, these workers were locked out for 21 long months,” Rogers said. “Government has been completely missing in action on this issue.”
Earlier this year, the NDP Caucus also called on the Premier to introduce anti-replacement worker legislation to protect workers’ right to fair bargaining.
“For eight years since the Roil report, the NDP and labour advocates, including Unifor and the NL Federation of Labour, have been pushing for these changes. Successive governments have ignored the needs of our workers,” Rogers said.
“Amendments to our Labour Relations Act are long overdue and our laws are in urgent need of modernization. It’s time for government to take action on behalf of the workers of our province.”
For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, 729-2137 (o) or 693-9172 (c).