rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Labour news this week: IMF behind decline of workers' rights, says ITUC; migrant workers shot in Greece; Porter suing union

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Report slams IMF for suppressing collective bargaining rights globally

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been a key driver behind the breakdown of workers' collective bargaining power worldwide since 2008, says a report from the International Trade Union Confederation released o Wednesday.

The report looks at the state collective bargaining rights and other labour issues in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and European countries. It chides the IMF bank for encouraging countries to slash labour costs by "replacing multi-employer collective bargaining systems at industry or national level with enterprise level bargaining or the elimination of collective bargaining altogether."

They're shooting guest workers in Greece

The global abuse of migrant workers was highlighted once more this week in Greece, where about 30 migrant farm workers, mostly from Bangadesi, were shot by a supervisor on the strawberry farm where they work. The workers had reportedly confronted the owner over 6 months worth of unpaid wages.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is busily deporting undocumented foreign worker by the thousands. The government passed a law aimed at getting 10 percent of job filled by locals earlier this year, and over the past few months has kicked over 200,000 migrant workers out of the country.

Porter Airlines sues striking workers' union over Twitter comments

Porter Airlines has launched a $4-million libel lawsuit against the Canadian Office and Professional Employees' union over comments it made on Twitter about safety standards at the ground operations of Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto.

The union represents 22 airplane re-fuelers who have been on strike since early January.

Quebec and Norwegian workers unite to challenge union busting by Couche-Tard 

Couche-Tard, Canada's largest convenience store operator, regularly engages in union-busting practices (including the Walmart-style strategy of closing profitable stores where unions do manage to take a foothold) say unions in Quebec and Norway.

The company operates several chains internationally, including Couche-Tard in Quebec, Mac's in the rest of Canada, Circle K in the U.S. and overseas, and Statoil in northern Europe.

Quebec's Confederation of National Trade Unions and the Norwegian union of commercial and office employees met in Oslo this week and vowed to unite their efforts to challenge the company's tactics to suppress worker organization.

National Auto Radiator lockout ends; CAW to take Narmco to court over withheld retiree health benefit payments

National Auto Radiator ended its one-week lockout of workers at its Windsor plant on Tuesday after agreeing with their union, Canadian Auto Workers, to a 30 day cooling-off period with no threat of strike or lockout.

The lockout started April 11 following breakdown of negotiations on a contract for the soon-to-be closed plant's remaining workers.

CAW says that Narmco, the parent company of National Auto Radiator, halted payments of health and drug benefits to about 200 retired workers during the lockout, leaving the union scrambling to take on the payments itself. It plans to take Narmco to court to recover those costs.

Teachers and staff in Ontario high schools vote to accept altered contract terms

Ontario's public high school teachers and support staff have voted to approve a deal reached between their union and the provincial government to alter contract terms imposed on them through legislation in January. 

Though Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne has said the altered contracts won't cost the government any more money than the ones imposed in January, opposition Conservative MPs continue to speculate that the changes will add tens of millions in costs. They've accused Wynne of bowing to "labour terrorism."

Talks for a similar deal between the government and the union representing elementary school employees are ongoing.

Other headlines of note

Saskatchewan prepares to gut labour laws with Bill 85

Company's crab dumped by fishermen during protest

Fatal heart attack linked to Kits coast guard closure by union [CBC] 2013-04-12

'There will be war' over pension changes, retirees warn

$5m in damages awarded due to 'cruel and malicious' treatment from insurers

Labour, First Nations join forces at conference opposing oil sands expansion

Another Senator Lambasts Tories' Wasteful, Partisan Attacks on Unions

Former Human Rights Tribunal boss Shirish Chotalia 'harassed, abused' staff: Report

International unions call on FIFA to rerun the vote for the Qatar 2022 World Cup

Domestic Workers Sow a New Global Movement

Rowdy Keystone pipeline hearing pits workers vs greens 

Union Sugar Workers End Heroic Stand

The Excel Spreadsheet Error That Justified Global Austerity

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.