Report exposes violations of basic workplace rights and calls new government to immediate action

Image of cover of new report by BC ESC, Workers' stories of exploitation and abuse.To mark Labour Day, we are releasing a new report: Workers’ Stories of Exploitation & Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change. For the full press release, please click here.

This report documents widespread employer violations of BC’s Employment Standards Act and exposes the failure of the provincial government to enforce basic workplace rights. The Coalition calls on the new provincial government to act swiftly on the report’s recommendations.

 

In 2016 and 2017, the BC Employment Standards Coalition held a series of workers’ forums across Metro Vancouver and Victoria where workers described their experiences with employment standards violations, issues with enforcement, and areas where the Employment Standards Act failed to protect them.

The Coalition heard from 145 workers about wage theft, lack of breaks, employment contract violations, improper termination, excessive work hours, and unequal treatment as temporary workers. The coalition’s report gives a voice to workers’ concerns and proposes legislative reforms intended to improve the economic security of all working people.

“The ‘Workers’ Stories Report’ is an indictment of the previous government’s callous reduction of rights and protections for workers in the province – especially the most vulnerable,” says David Fairey, co-chair of the coalition. “The findings expose the government’s failure to enforce the Employment Standards Act, and the urgent need to address gaps in existing legislation.”

The report also raises serious concerns about employers charging fees to temporary foreign workers, denying sick days, bullying workers and the lack of basic rights for farm workers. Additionally, it proposes new rights and protections for the large and growing numbers of precarious workers in the service economy.

“The stories we collected illustrate the need for the new government to act quickly to modernize basic workplace rights, institute proactive enforcement, and provide the Employment Standards Branch with the resources needed to carry out its mandate effectively.” says Fairey.

For interviews, please contact:

David Fairey, Co-Chair, BC Employment Standards Coalition

604-430-6036

david@labourconsultingservices.com

Article in The Tyee on new BC Employment Standards Coalition Summary Report

“B.C. workers aren’t protected from abuse and harassment under the Employment Standards Act. WorkSafeBC has guidelines on workplace bullying, but Fairey says they have no teeth.

It’s a refrain that’s repeated throughout the report: lack of protection for workers and lack of enforcement of the rules that do exist.”

The Tyee has published an article on the BC Employment Standards Coalition’s new Summary Report, Worker Workers’ Stories of Harassment and Abuse: Why B.C. Employment Standards Need to Change. Read The Tyee article here, and see our press release here.

Metro News coverage of Workers’ Stories summary report

Metro News: http://bit.ly/2qOMdiz

Metro News published a story this week on the release of our new Summary Report, “Workers’ Stories of Exploitation & Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change.”

For our press release, please click here.

PRESS RELEASE: Workers Survey Shows BC Employers Failing to Meet Basic Regulations & Calls for Revisions to Employment Standards Act

 

Flickr Creative Commons: https://flic.kr/p/EstjwE

For a pdf version of this press release, please click here

Today, the BC Employment Standards Coalition released a summary of its forthcoming report, “Workers’ Stories of Exploitation & Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change.” The report exposes employer violations of BC’s Employment Standards Act, and proposes revisions to the act that will protect unrepresented workers from abuse and exploitation. It also marks the first time in twenty-five years that British Columbia workers have been given a voice to publicly share their experiences with BC’s employment standards law and enforcement.

Over the past six months, the BC Employment Standards Coalition held of a series of workers’ story forums across Metro Vancouver and Victoria. During these forums, coalition members interviewed workers about their experiences with employment standards violations, issues with enforcement, and areas where the Employment Standards Act failed to protect them. After the forums, the coalition analyzed their findings, and began crafting a report that would give workers a voice, and propose changes to the legislation necessary to improve the minimum employment standards for all BC workers.

The report summary details violation issues that need to be addressed immediately. For example, an overwhelming majority of workers reported “wage theft,” lack of breaks, miss-classification of employees as self-employed, violation of employment contracts, improper termination, and excessive work hours. The report also raises serious concerns about employers charging fees for temporary foreign workers, failing to keep proper records, and denying their employees leave and sick days.

The “Workers’ Stories” report illustrates a failure of the BC Liberal government to proactively enforce the Employment Standards Act and encourage workers to submit complaints of violations. “Over the past fifteen years, workers have found themselves in increasingly precarious, low paid and exploitative jobs – a fact that has been widely recognized across Canada,” says David Fairey, co-chair of the coalition. “But in BC, the inadequacies of the Employment Standards Act and its enforcement has worsened the problem.”

The full “Workers’ Stories” report will be published in June.

About The BC Employment Standards Coalition

The BC Employment Standards Coalition campaigns for decent wages, working conditions, and respect and dignity in the workplace. The coalition is comprised of individual members, representatives from worker and community legal advocacy organizations, public policy researchers, labour lawyers and volunteer advocates.

For more information, please contact David Fairey, Co-Chair, BC Employment Standards Coalition 604-430-6036 + david@labourconsultingservices.com

January 11th: Victoria Workers’ Story Forum

 

January 11th Bad Job Story

Unpaid wages?
Unpaid overtime?
Employer taking your tips?
Unfair firings?

Unfair treatment of workers is all too common in British Columbia. Few people know their rights, and getting justice from a bad boss can be nearly impossible. The BC Employment Standards Coalition and the Victoria Retail Action Network are campaigning for better employment laws and stronger enforcement for all workers.

Join us on January 11th in Victoria, BC to share your story. This is the first of BC Employment Standards Coalition workers’ story forms planned for January and February, 2017. The dates and locations for more forums in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be posted soon.

You can tell us about a current problem or even something that happened within the past 10 years. You can also learn about your workplace rights under the Employment Standards Act and other BC laws. If your case involves a legal violation, we will offer advice and can help you to start a complaint. Interviews will be done by experienced advocates. You can choose to tell us your name and the name of the employer, or choose to be anonymous.

Please click here for our poster and share it widely. 

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