LEGISLATING AGAINST WOMEN

Two pieces of legislation affect women in particular. Instead of ensuring good work conditions and decent incomes for women, the Charest government came up with legislation that will significantly increase the precariousness of women's work as well as their financial insecurity.

Bill 7

This piece of legislation was sponsored by Minister Couillard, Minister of Health and Social Services.

Bill 7 took away the right to strike from workers at the intermediate level of the health and social services.

When we talk about the intermediate level, we're referring, for example, to people who work in homes that welcome children in difficulty or people with developmental disabilities. Bill 7 stipulated that these workers are not considered salaried workers according to the definitions in the Labor Code. Consequently, they don't have the right to unionize.

Bill 8

Bill 8 had the same effect as Bill 7 but applies to workers in the home child-care sector. In other words, Bill 8 affirmed that people who run day cares in their homes cannot unionize because they are no longer recognized as salaried workers according to the Labor Code.

What's more, Bills 7 and 8 are retroactive, which effectively invalidates the union accreditation obtained by over 1250 people working in the network (working in the intermediary strata and in home day-cares).

Once again, the two pieces of legislation will weaken the work conditions and salaries of many women in Quebec. Indeed, they affect fields of employment in which women are by far the majority.

Our mothers and grandmothers fought for women's unpaid work to be recognized as work that serves all of society, and that should therefore be the responsibility of the entire society. Now, the Charest government is saying quite shamelessly that this educating and care giving work should be reduced to its old status.

What does this imply? That domestic work, education and care giving work is women's duty, in some sort of natural sense. Women, be ashamed of demanding that such gratifying work should be paid, and well paid at that!

Of course, without the unpaid and underpaid work of countless women, the whole system would collapse ...