VANCOUVER – New Democrat leader Adrian Dix and official opposition labour critic Harry Bains issued the following statement marking Labour Day:
“Without B.C.’s labour force and movement, many of the advances our province has made toward becoming a more prosperous and just place would not have happened. Today is a day when we celebrate these gains and accomplishments, and reflect on what is possible through the collective efforts of working British Columbians.
“Establishing rules for workplace safety and equality, the eight-hour work day, and securing collective bargaining as a fundamental Charter right are just among a few of the victories B.C. union members have won for all workers and their families.
“Collective bargaining, historically, has transformed our economy and society in a positive way. The labour movement’s efforts in securing fair wages and workplace opportunities has helped build the middle class who drive economic growth. Experience repeatedly confirms that B.C. as a whole prospers when more people have a reasonable chance at meaningful, well-paying employment.
“But over the past 10 years, B.C. has been falling behind. Income inequality in this province has grown to be among the highest in the country. Under this growing disparity, more and more families and individuals are struggling to meet their needs rather than becoming part the middle class , a situation that puts our economic future and social stability at grave risk.
“New Democrats, like the labour movement, are committed to restoring fairness and opportunity for all British Columbians. There is much to be done on many fronts – from supporting workers fighting for reasonable wage packages and workplace practices, including the employees currently locked out from the Richmond, B.C. Ikea and North Shore Winter Club in North Vancouver; to making work sites safer, to improving access to training and education that gives people the chance to secure high paying and fulfilling work.
“On behalf of the New Democrat caucus, we wish everyone a happy Labour Day.”