The B.c. factory worker movement is growing at an impressive pace and it’s starting to be recognized as a significant political force.
A growing number of workers have taken to the streets in recent weeks to voice their opposition to the BC Hydro privatization plan, but what does that mean for their future?
The BC Hydro workers union, the BC Laborers Union (BLU), has been calling for the continuation of the BC Industrial Relations Act, which is being phased out at the end of this year.
This is the last act in the process that will have a direct impact on workers in the BIA, and this legislation has been very much a tool to consolidate power in the hands of the top leadership of the BCA.
The bill, passed in the last legislature, allows the BC Liberal government to transfer control of the province’s electrical grid from the BC Utilities Commission to the Ministry of Energy.
BC Hydro will be given the power to build a new $25 billion hydroelectric dam in the Fraser Valley, and will have complete control over the BC Coastal Resources Management Plan, which will control the BC Power System.
It will also have the power, for the first time, to make major decisions about how much power it can supply to the Bias-Nuclear Energy Industry, which it already has in place.
BLU leader Paul Brouillette said the BC Liberals are trying to put BC Hydro and the BC Coast Resources Management Commission in the same box.
“This legislation will give them the power and they’ll be able to run this industry,” he said.
“We are calling for a total moratorium on the privatization of the Crown corporation.”
“It’s a disaster.
We need a long-term moratorium on this.”
The legislation is being seen by many workers as a backdoor way for the Liberals to keep control of their industries, especially the power sector, and that is something Brouiallie believes will happen anyway.
He also sees the legislation as a tool for the BC NDP government to gain power in 2018.
“[This legislation] gives the BC government the power,” he told us.
Liberal government has the power.
It’s been their plan since the beginning.
They’ll be the ones running the business and running the province.
They’re taking control of everything and they’re going to make the most of it.”
He said the Liberals have a long history of using privatization and deregulation to further their power.
Brouialls actions echo similar actions taken by other workers who have called for a complete moratorium on privatization and the privatization and re-privatization of the power industry.
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Follow us on Twitter: @BCHydroNews More on this BC Hydro story: More than 200 people have been arrested in protests across the province in recent days, including the actions at the BC Rail Station, where thousands of workers shut down the tracks and shut down a major power line for a few hours.
At the Victoria Hydro power plant in Victoria, workers shut the power lines down and marched through downtown Victoria to protest the privatization plan.
In Prince Rupert, B.com reported that protesters in the city have locked themselves in their homes and have taken control of Victoria Hydro’s main office.
More workers are expected to take to the street again at a planned strike on April 28, which would begin in Victoria and move into Prince Rupert.
We will keep you updated on this development as it develops.