By Jennifer McKenzie, Leader , NBNDP
Today on Labour Day I want to join with all New Brunswickers to honour working men and women and the hard work and sacrifice they make every day for all of us. I also want to acknowledge the leadership provided by the labour movement here and across Canada in improving the lives of all workers. Working men and women through their unions in the past have fought for and continue to fight today for better wages and working conditions , safe workplaces and universal social programs such as Old Age security , Canada pension and Medicare. Today is a day to pause and reflect on these accomplishments and to renew our support for all workers and their just struggles for better workplaces
There is still much to do. Today in New Brunswick we have too many workers in precarious jobs, working two or three jobs to make ends meet. We have too many workers earning less than a living wage and women in the workplace still earning, particularly in the private sector, less than male workers in jobs of equal value.
Today I accept the challenge to fight for better labour laws to protect all workers in this province . Our collective bargaining and employment standards legislation are now seriously outdated . Our workers compensation legislation is no longer working for many workers injured on the job and we need to return to its basic values and purpose.
Of particular concern is the failure of the Gallant government to address the issue of workplace violence. As an example , registered nurses , licensed practical nurses and others working in hospitals and nursing homes have to put up with violence on a daily basis. Unions in the province have called for violence in the workplace to be specifically covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act so that employers must take measures to lessen the risk of workplace violence . This legislation exists across Canada and it is time we had it in New Brunswick!
Let us all work in solidarity with workers and the labour movement to continue to fight for workers rights today and every day of the year.