September 2, 2019
WINNIPEG – On Labour Day, Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont announced that a Manitoba Liberal Government will increase enforcement of workplace health and safety issues, rescind the PCs Public Services Sustainability Act and wage freeze, and commit to ensuring timely labour negotiations so that workers don’t spend months or years working without a contract.
“The right to negotiate the value of your work, how much you will be paid, the hours you will work and the benefits you receive are among the most important decisions you can make in your life,” said Lamont. “Manitoba Liberals want to ensure that people are paid fair wages, that we settle negotiations on time, and that people make it home from work safe.”
Liberals say their emphasis on better wages, safer workplaces, and prompt negotiations are in response to routine problems under both the NDP and the PCs.
Manitoba routinely has some of the lowest wages in the country — resulting in large numbers of families and children living in poverty. Manitoba’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country and is well below what is required to pay rent.
Manitoba Liberals have committed to raising the minimum wage to $15/hr within two years. The NDP previously promised an increase to $15 by five years from now, in 2024.
Under the NDP, Manitoba was the most dangerous place to work in Canada. In 2007, Manitoba had the highest rate of on-the-job injuries in Canada, highest rate of time-lost injuries, and a workplace injury rate twice the national average. Businesses with less than 20 employees were exempted from establishing a workplace health and safety committee
Manitoba’s stats have been improving — but so have national ones, so Manitoba still lags. The PCs have been going out of their way to weaken rules and laws that protect worker safety and wages.
Finally, Liberals say while the PCs have frozen wages, the NDP also left unionized public sector workers in health care and corrections without contracts for years.
“We have a responsibility to workers to ensure they are not working without a contract,” said Lamont. “We need to recognize that too many people in Manitoba can barely make ends meet. What people really need is a raise.”