Near miss for Manitoba’s construction industry

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/02/2021 (837 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.
The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages. for over 50 years.
When Manitoba’s Minister of Finance, Scott Fielding, sent a letter to industry leaders just before Christmas, the reaction was swift and clear:
“Why would government throw a hand grenade at the industry … in the middle of a pandemic when we’re the crown jewel for their economy?” said Peter Wightman, executive director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba.
Sometimes the timing of an incident on a job site might be a mystery, but the people paying attention can tell beforehand that something bad is going to happen eventually.
Consider the reasons Fielding gave for government’s decision to tear up the act: 
“The current legislation adds a layer of complexity and administrative burden on the construction industry that doesn’t exist in other provinces.” 
In other words, he thought he was just cutting red tape.
Conservatives love to talk about lowering taxes and cutting red tape. The problem is that one person’s red tape is often someone else’s safe workplace and wages.
This recent incident is an example of what happens when governments take the view that all regulation is bad, no matter what, rather than asking what the purpose of the rules are, whether the purpose is good and whether the rules serve their purpose.
Manitoba’s building trade unions could have easily explained the problems that repealing CIWA would create, but no one bothered to call them. It is offensive that the government would not think to consult workers themselves about these changes. It was not until employers objected that the government backed down.
If the PCs had asked  ‘how do we support fair wages and working conditions for workers?’ they never would have fooled themselves into thinking a repeal of CIWA was a good idea.
The fact that they continue to press forward with ill-advised changes to the ratio of journeypersons to apprentices and eliminating the apprenticeship wage schedule shows how determined they are to ignore the concerns of workers.
We may have had a near miss on CIWA, but the hazard has yet to be removed from the Legislature.
– Before his election to the House of Commons, Daniel Blaikie worked as a journeyman construction electrician.

 

On a job site, reckless behaviour can do serious harm. A ‘near miss’ is when no one is seriously injured but someone easily could have if things had turned out just a little differently.

The Manitoba construction industry just had a near miss. A reckless Progressive Conservative government almost ripped up the Construction Industry Wages Act which has ensured a level playing field for contract bidding and fair wages for over 50 years.

When Manitoba’s Minister of Finance, Scott Fielding, sent a letter to industry leaders just before Christmas, the reaction was swift and clear:

“Why would government throw a hand grenade at the industry … in the middle of a pandemic when we’re the crown jewel for their economy?” said Peter Wightman, executive director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Manitoba.

Sometimes the timing of an incident on a job site might be a mystery, but the people paying attention can tell beforehand that something bad is going to happen eventually.

Consider the reasons Fielding gave for government’s decision to tear up the act: 

“The current legislation adds a layer of complexity and administrative burden on the construction industry that doesn’t exist in other provinces.” 

In other words, he thought he was just cutting red tape.

Conservatives love to talk about lowering taxes and cutting red tape. The problem is that one person’s red tape is often someone else’s safe workplace and wages.

This recent incident is an example of what happens when governments take the view that all regulation is bad, no matter what, rather than asking what the purpose of the rules are, whether the purpose is good and whether the rules serve their purpose.

Manitoba’s building trade unions could have easily explained the problems that repealing CIWA would create, but no one bothered to call them. It is offensive that the government would not think to consult workers themselves about these changes. It was not until employers objected that the government backed down.

If the PCs had asked  ‘how do we support fair wages and working conditions for workers?’ they never would have fooled themselves into thinking a repeal of CIWA was a good idea.

The fact that they continue to press forward with ill-advised changes to the ratio of journeypersons to apprentices and eliminating the apprenticeship wage schedule shows how determined they are to ignore the concerns of workers.

We may have had a near miss on CIWA, but the hazard has yet to be removed from the Legislature.

– Before his election to the House of Commons, Daniel Blaikie worked as a journeyman construction electrician.

Daniel Blaikie

Daniel Blaikie
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report

Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

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