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Canada’s unions stand with India’s farmers and farm workers

Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with farmers and agricultural workers in India as they continue to protest recent reforms to agricultural laws that deregulate the industry and leave farmers and farm workers vulnerable to exploitation by international corporations.

“Deregulating local produce markets will have a devastating impact on farmers, farm workers and food security in India,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff. “We stand with the international labour movement to support workers who are taking to the streets to protest these reforms and fight for their rights.”

India’s central and local governments passed three farm acts in September. Taken together, these acts threaten to impoverish millions of small farmers and leave millions more farm workers unemployed. Farmers’ unions have been protesting since August, escalating to a national general strike on November 26, 2020.

The government of India has also proposed reforms that undermine unions and violate international labour standards that India has ratified as a member of the International Labour Organization.

“The government’s legislation leaves farmers and workers at the mercy of large multinational corporations and global commodity price swings,” said Yussuff. “We deplore the fact that some states in India are also using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to suspend labour laws and attack workers’ rights. The international community has to stand up.”

The protesting farmers are making several demands, including asking that the new farm laws be repealed; that all repressive measures taken against protesters cease; and that movement leaders who have been arrested be released. Other workers’ unions in the country have joined the protests in support of the farmers.

Canada’s unions applaud cancellation of U.S. tariffs

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions commend the federal government for acting decisively to end the standoff over U.S.-imposed tariffs on the country’s aluminum exports.

Earlier today, the American government reversed the highly contentious tariffs just hours before the Canadian government was set to impose its own retaliatory actions. Those actions would have had significant repercussions in the U.S. and would have impacted jobs.

“The American government had no business imposing these tariffs to begin with. Canadian workers cannot be used as pawns in a political fight that has nothing to do with them,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The federal government should be commended for its strong defence of Canadian industry and for its ongoing resolve in defending workers.”

The American government had imposed the 10% tariff on aluminum in August. This came just months after it had lifted previously imposed tariffs following the ratification of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement and which Canada’s unions fought for over a year to have removed.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation and urge the federal government to continue defending these vital Canadian industries and the hundreds of thousands of workers who rely on them,” said Yussuff.

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