H&S LAWS MUST IMPROVE FOR YOUNG WORKERS: UNION
— With the recent deaths of five teenage workers, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is calling on Ontario to review health and safety laws dealing with training for younger workers. “(Young and student workers) need real compulsory, hazard-specific, on-the-job training, not just in high school classrooms or government-sponsored ad campaigns,” said Cecil Makowski, vice-president for the Ontario region of CEP. He says the Health and Safety Act is not stringent enough and that the government must develop an enforcement mechanism to deal with employers who refuse to train student workers.
AUSTRALIAN STATE PREPARES INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER LAW
— The government of the state of Victoria
is planning to introduce a law dealing with corporate killing this October. The law will create the crime of industrial manslaughter, and hold employers, directors and senior corporate officials responsible for workplace deaths and injures if it can be shown they were grossly negligent. Penalties will include corporate fines of up to $4 million and about $150,000 and up to two
years in jail for individuals.
THE PAY EQUITY CASE THAT WOULDN’T END
— Bell Canada refuses to give up in its pay equity battle with a group of former clerical staff and operators, taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. The company could end up paying as much as $150 million in equity claims. The case could have far-reaching impacts since Bell is claiming the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is not impartial and therefore the company could not get a fair hearing. About 22,000 former employees, mostly women, claim they are owed raises between 10 and 20 per cent retroactive to 1992. It’s expected the Supreme Court will take a few months before deciding whether or not to hear the case.
CLERGY WANT RESPECT
— Anglican and Catholic clergy members in the United Kingdom may stop performing baptisms and marriages if working conditions don’t improve. The union representing the clergy members says a work-to-rule campaign will start in order to protest overworked, stressful working conditions. “We simply cannot carry on painting over the cracks or alleging God will provide. Many of us feel He’s put us here in this place and in this mess in order to ensure these radical decisions are made,” said Rev. Roger Brown, who represents Wales on the clergy and church workers’ executive of the union. The union is asking for a 50 per cent wage increase.