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ERIC Number: ED546887
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Labour Rights, Inequality and Democracy
Froese-Germain, Bernie
Canadian Teachers' Federation
Perhaps the most predictable lesson learned about the imposition of fiscal austerity over the past few years has been that it has generally failed where it has been tried. A recent Education International study of EI members examines global trends in freedom of association and collective bargaining in the education sector since the 2008 financial crisis. The study, conducted by Nora Wintour, found that in many countries, the economic crisis has been used by governments as a justification to cut education budgets and in particular, salaries and benefits of the education workforce. The attack on labour rights in Canada has also intensified in the crisis-driven climate of fiscal austerity, creating a divide and conquer mindset. Examples over the past thirty years include back-to-work legislation (including the arbitrary imposition of settlements), suspension of workers' bargaining rights and imposed wage freezes or rollbacks, restrictions on unions' ability to organize, and restrictions on the scope of bargaining and other union activities. Some of this legislation has violated the "Charter of Rights and Freedoms." Canada also has a poor record meeting its international labour obligations, specifically regarding the ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. As the Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights (CFLR) has documented, Canada has ratified only 34 of the ILO's 189 conventions, and only eight of the 31 conventions developed since 1982. Herein, the author reviews recent research relating to the imposition of fiscal austerity in Canada and the sustained attack on labour rights. It concludes with a discussion of the growth of income inequality and how unions help keep income inequality in check. Finally, the impact the labour movement in Canadian society has on the success of public education is addressed.
Canadian Teachers' Federation. 2490 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, ON K1H 1E1, Canada. Tel: 866-283-1505; Tel: 613-232-1505; Fax: 613-232-1886; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Canadian Teachers' Federation
Identifiers - Location: Canada