Should speaking, “afraid” of the power thatShould speaking, “afraid” of the power that

Should we take away the right to
strike?

 

First
of all we have to understand what strike action is. Fundamentally a strike is
the process in which employees protest against the issues that they consider
important in their work environment. There is no simple way to get into strike
action; first of all we have to ensure that the correct process is followed,
starting with the negotiation between employer and employees to reach a
collective agreement. During the negotiation process both parties have to
comply with each other’s needs and demands, if they do not reach an agreement
or deem the negotiations unproductive the employees can then take “strike action”.

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This, in short terms, means that employees stop working until both parties
reach an agreement.

Now,
getting back to the fundamental idea of this essay, we have to discuss if the
act of striking is considered a right that employees possess. Two years ago in
Saskatchewan, a legislation against strike action was in the making, this
brought the attention of all Canadian provinces an territories because never
before had a provincial government tried to intervene in the strike action
process.

Thirty
years ago during the early stages of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the
Canadian government addressed several issues like the freedom of speech and
religion, but unfortunately it left behind aspects such as the right to
collective bargaining and the right to strike (Fine, 2015). The government of
Saskatchewan noticed this absence of information and urged the federal
government (The Supreme Court) to give the minimum liberties possible for
employees to strike.  This gets us into a
deeper argument, is it fair for the government to take arbitrary decisions
based on the demands of a province that is, in a figurative way of speaking,
“afraid” of the power that the union amongst employees can represent if they
ever unite to request improvements?

Personally
I think that employees must be provided with all the tools needed to be able to
defend themselves against their employers. Throughout history we have witnessed
the power that employers have over those who need financial security and
stability. There have been power abuses over and over letting the ones who
can’t defend themselves with only two options, you either go my way or you are
out. That is why to me is so striking that even in the 21st century
we can still witness this kind of behaviour coming from governments of
developed countries such as Canada.

The
right to strike is an essential part of a meaningful collective bargaining
process in our system of labour relations (Fudge & Jensen, 2016).

Employees
have a fair ground to stand during certification and collective bargaining
processes, but they had no security when talking about the pause of labours
during a non-productive agreement. This used to be totally different less than
forty-eight months ago when the Supreme Court of Canada reached a decision:
give the employees the right to strike.

 “The right to strike corrects a historical
imbalance which existed between employees and an employer (Matthews, Dinsdale
& Clark 2015).” This is telling us what we had previously discussed,
history has taught us a lesson, and in a surprising turn of events the employee
who used to have the lower hand is now capable of demanding better job
conditions and has the tools to make their demands heard.

 I come from what many people call “a
developing country”, but turns out that our Constitution was the first one in
the world to provide employees with the right to strike. This makes me feel
proud of my origins and to be honest is something that I had no idea about. If
we were to compare the situations between Mexico and Canada things will look
really different than what people think. The Mexican Constitution was
elaborated in 1917 and had the right to strike inside its pages since a hundred
years ago (do not forget we are talking about a “developing” country),
meanwhile Canada has provided its hard workers with this right only a couple of
years ago. That is why I feel surprised about this case, because sometimes you
take things for granted until you are faced with different work environments
and labour situations from different countries around the world.

When
we talk about the basis of labour law and how it affects people protected by it
we have to take into consideration all of the aspects that revolve around it.

We must not suppose that everybody is created equal, which is why we have to
deliver actions that best suit the situation. The government of Saskatchewan
wanted to interfere with one of the only elements of defense that employees
have to protect themselves against the conditions that may be present in their
jobs. And, by taking action, the federal government demonstrated that they
really do care about the wellbeing of the union workers, which represents
almost 70% of Canada’s workforce.

By
doing this Canada has shown its people that they really care, not only in
Saskatchewan, but countrywide. I now have learned a little more about Canadian
history and how it affects the decisions that are made right know.

Just
to end we also have to take in consideration that without the right to strike
employees and union organizations will become stressed, and it will bring
problems in the relation that they have with the Canadian government and their
employees. This is something that was surely addressed during the discussion
about providing union workers with the right to strike.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

“As
a result of its decision, the Supreme Court has provided the Saskatchewan
Government one year to enact new legislation (Matthews, Dinsdale & Clark
2015)”.  For me it is good to see that
the government is still worried about the wellness of the people, and by giving
the government of Saskatchewan the order to change its legislation it prevents
the rest of the provinces from following or trying to follow Saskatchewan’s
steps.

I
think this case should be considered a milestone that will echo throughout
history and countries around the world should take into considerations the
actions that lead into this decision.

I
could continue with the comparison between my country and Canada but it will
lead me into nothing, because after all its two different countries with
different societies and cultures (organization, and work wise). What I take
from this essay is the knowledge I gained by understanding the conditions that
took the government to make this decision and how it affects (for good) the
people living in this country.

At last I can only quote George Santayana and hope
that Canadians remember what he once said “Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”