More than 10 Manitoba unions representing the interests of nurses, teachers, civil servants and many other professions filed a class action lawsuit on the temporary injunction of the law on the wage freeze, which was passed by the provincial government. Court of Queen's Bench Justice James Edmond rejected this request at the court hearing on Friday.
The judge explained the decision by the fact that the law was adopted for the common good in a proper way, and its admonition before the full constitutional hearing would be a gross violation of the statute.
It should be recalled that the law was passed by the legislature over a year ago, but the government has not announced its entry into force yet. This law will freeze wages of employees in the public sector for two years, then the wages will be increased by 0.75%, and for the fourth year by 1%.
Representatives of unions say that the law violates the right to collective bargaining and freedom of association. Despite the fact that the government has not officially announced its entry into force, it has already affected the conduct of collective bargaining, so the government negotiators use it as a guide.
The government, however, believes that it can legislatively regulate the freezing of the wages to maintain the availability and quality of public services for Manitoba residents without raising taxes. This process in their opinion is absolutely legal since it concerns only new cooperative contracts and does not affect already concluded contracts.
President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour Kevin Rebeck stated that he was not surprised at the court’s decision. He is going to continue the fight against this law and he will prepare for the decisive constitutional hearing as much as possible. The date of this hearing will be appointed by the judge on August 31.