“This shows that Smith doesn’t really care about Alberta workers,” says McGowan
EDMONTON - The president of Alberta’s largest worker advocacy group says he’s shocked and disappointed that Premier Danielle Smith has decided to abolish the Labour Ministry with the announcement of her new cabinet.
“Smith has made it clear that she cares about anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. She’s also made it clear that she cares about her friends in the business community who come looking for handouts and fewer regulatory constraints on their excesses,” says Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.
“But with this move, she’s made it very clear she doesn’t care about Alberta workers, other than as units of production.”
McGowan dismisses arguments that the functions of the old Labour Ministry are simply being shifted over to the new ministry of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development and the ministry of Skilled Trades and Professions.
“Those new ministries only look at workers as units of production; cogs in the machine of business and the economy,” says McGowan. “There’s no recognition that workers have rights and that they need protections in the workplace. They’re almost inviting employers to ignore standards and exploit workers.”
McGowan asks the question: “Under this new structure, who will be responsible to the pieces of legislation that are designed to protect worker rights and interests in the workplace; like the Labour Code, the Employment Standards Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Code?”
McGowan concludes by saying that the decision to do away with a dedicated Labour Department shows where Smith’s priorities and allegiances really lie.
“This decision is very telling. Either Smith doesn’t understand the need for rules to protect the rights of Albertans in the workplace, or she simply believes that there’s no role for government in curbing the excesses of employers in the workplace.”
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