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Labour news this week: Omnibus budget bill passes, CP rail job cuts, Labrador mine operator guilty in worker death

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Omnibus budget bill C-45 sails through House of Commons

The Conservatives' omnibus Bill C-45, ostensibly a budget implementation bill, was passed in the House of Commons last Wednesday, December 5. The legislation will affect workers through the weakening of public service pensions and changes to the Canada Labour Code, the regulation of labelling and safety instructions for hazardous workplace materials, income tax rules and more.


CP rail to eliminate 4,500 jobs

Canadian Pacific Railway announced last week it plans to cut 4,500 jobs by 2016 –- with 1,700 to be cut by the end of this year. 


Labrador mine operator pleads guilty in death of worker

 The Iron Ore Company of Canada pleaded guilty last Wednesday to violating health and safety regulations, leading to the death of a worker in its mine in Labrador City in 2010. The company, owned by global mining giant Rio Tinto, has been cited for 882 safety violations since 2006. It faces a fine of up to $700,000; its lawyer argues that the $500,000 fine being recommended by the Crown would be “unduly harsh, and does offend the principals of proportionality."


Union, academics predict uphill battle for Canadian labour in 2013 

Like 2012, the coming year will be a very challenging one for workers and the labour movement, predict academics and the head of the Canadian Auto Workers union. They cite a slow economy, government appetite for intervening in labour disputes, the trend towards two-tier benefit schemes, a strong loonie and competition with “right-to-work” states as major factors putting labour at a disadvantage.


Workers everywhere getting smaller share of national income, says ILO report

A recent report by the International Labour Organization shows that workers' share of the national income in most countries, developed and developing, has been shrinking for decades.

Michigan to join “right-to-work” states
Michigan is poised to become America's 24th state with union-crippling “right-to-work” legislation, after legislators voted last Thursday to pass the controversial law. The move triggered protests across the state.


Ontario teachers and students start walkouts

Ontario elementary teachers begin their first one-day walkout today in the ongoing conflict with the government over new contracts terms and Bill 115. Students have announced their own walkouts in solidarity with their teachers and against Bill 115.


Manitoba repealing lower minimum wage for disabled workers

The Manitoba government has announced it will repeal a discriminatory law allowing employers to pay workers with disabilities less that the minimum wage. Similar laws are still on the books in Alberta and Saskatchewan.


Health science and social service workers strike in B.C.

Health science workers in B.C. hospitals have ended a series of rotating strikes launched last week while they discuss a new offer tabled by the province. Social service workers across the province, meanwhile, continued with rolling one-day walkouts that began months ago.

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