Kenney pledged to business audience to roll back rights and protections at work; eliminate health and safety protections; and implement massive cuts to public services. All without consultation.
Yesterday, in a speech to business leaders at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Jason Kenney promised to swiftly implement regressive changes to Alberta’s hard-won labour rights with no public consultation.
Kenney pledged to freeze the minimum wage; introduce a lower wage for young workers; repeal reforms that brought Alberta into the Canadian mainstream in terms of workplace rights and protections; reverse improvements in workplace health and safety protections; and make it more difficult for Albertans to exercise their constitutionally protected right to join unions and bargain collectively.
“Yesterday’s speech was more evidence that Jason Kenney is no friend to working people in Alberta,” said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “From terminating planned increases to minimum wage to cancelling reforms to Workers’ Compensation Board and Occupational Health and safety systems – slashing employer premiums while continuing to cut worker benefits – Kenney has shown time and again that he’s only interested in supporting his friends in the business community, not working people.”
“Make no mistake, Kenney is basically saying he’s in favour of using the power of government to suppress wages for Albertans. That will be the effect of his policy,” says McGowan.
Kenney also suggested exploring an “Australian model” for wages, a model that allows employers to pay different wages to people based on personal characteristics such as age and differing physical and cognitive abilities.
“Kenney is floating a regressive model that lets employers slash pay for students, teens, and people with disabilities, creating a double standard that hurts many of Alberta’s most vulnerable people,” said McGowan. “It’s outrageous that two people should do the same work for different levels of pay based on who they are.”
“Kenney is singing from the right-wing, hyper-conservative songbook we’ve seen across North America,” said McGowan. “It should come to no surprise that Jason Kenney is looking at the same dangerous policies used by right-wing politicians such as Doug Ford, and yes, Donald Trump. Under a Kenney government, working people in Alberta would face the same attacks we’ve seen south and east of our borders.”
For more information:
Director of Communications
Alberta Federation of Labour