An ACFO-drafted complaint has been filed on behalf of 230,000 Canadian federal public servants at the International Labour Organization (ILO) headquarters in Geneva.
The complaint – which was endorsed by all of the federal bargaining agents in the National Joint Council – was jointly filed by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Public Services International (PSI) at ACFO’s request in response to the budget implementation legislation known as Bill C-59.
“Quite frankly, we’re frustrated that it’s come to this,” says ACFO President Milt Isaacs. “The fact that we’ve had to look internationally for support speaks to just how punitive the actions taken against public servants have been. This is an erosion of our most basic rights.”
ILO Convention No. 87 (1948) protects freedom of association and the right to organize. Scott Chamberlain, ACFO’s General Counsel, argues the powers given to the government in the budget legislation violate that convention.
“The power to unilaterally eliminate a sick leave plan that was collectively bargained in good faith is a clear violation of an ILO convention ratified by Canada in 1972,” says Chamberlain. “It takes away our ability to represent our members in a fair way.”
The support of both the CLC and PSI show how dire such a precedent would be for bargaining rights, according to Isaacs.
“We’re grateful for the support of our colleagues at the CLC and at PSI,” Isaacs says. “Together they represent more than three million workers in Canada and more than 20 million public servants around the world.”
“This level of support shows just how serious a breach of our rights this legislation is.”