Douglas College students share their take on labour rights
By Colten Kamlade, Staff reporter
Labour rights could be diminishing in BC, according to a new report.
The BC Employment Standards Coalition, a labour rights advocacy group, released a report this May titled “Worker’s Stories of Exploitation and Abuse: Why BC Employment Standards Need to Change.” The report found that the BC government is failing to enforce employment standards within the province. Furthermore, some provisions within the BC Employment Standards Act were deemed unfair. The Other Press interviewed several Douglas College students to get their take on labour rights in BC.
Alex Hatch, a general studies student at the New Westminster campus, said he feels his labour rights may have been violated on more than one occasion when he felt pressured to work unsafely by an employer.
“The worst one that’s happened to me is that I was unloading skids from a trailer that were at least one-thousand pounds each and contained many sandbag-like things that contained the stuff used for making beer,” Hatch said. “Sometimes these skids are very poorly built and they fall over. The first time I dealt with it I didn’t want to rebuild the skid but my supervisor made me do it anyways. This has happened to me at least four times.”
Hatch said he works at a warehouse and he feels that his job can be dangerous. In addition to the dangerously-loaded skids, Hatch said the temperature in the warehouse can be too much considering the heavy lifting he has to do
Hatch said he has “no idea” about his specific rights as a worker.
Mackenzie Dillen, in her third year of general studies at Douglas College, said she feels her rights are respected at her workplace.
“[My managers] never made me do anything that made me feel uncomfortable or unsafe,” she said. “I know that we have a shop steward who is super nice and helpful and if I ever had any concerns I would be able to go to her about them.”
Dillen said she hasn’t explored the specifics of her rights as a worker in BC.
“I’ve actually never looked into my employee rights besides the basics about Work Safe BC during my orientation,” she said.