December 6, 2017
Halifax – Today, December 6, Unifor and Bell Aliant honoured the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women with concrete action by negotiating paid domestic violence leave.
“Our agreement with Bell sends a clear message of commitment that we can through collective bargaining make a difference,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “There is no better way to recognize December 6 than by taking action to address gender-based violence.”
Unifor has been a leader in implementing practical supports for women in abusive relationships, including the negotiation of Women’s Advocates in over 350 Unifor workplaces and in some cases paid leave for victims. This agreement on paid leave for victims of domestic violence is part of ongoing negotiations for a new contract with Bell Aliant and is subject to ratification by members.
The paid domestic leave provision ensures that absences which are not covered by sick leave or disability insurance and result from domestic violence will be granted as paid absence. The union said that the agreement was only made possible because Bell recognized that workers living in abusive or violent situations are greatly impacted including at work.
“Today’s agreement is an important action and I want to applaud the efforts of Bell for recognizing the challenges survivors of domestic violence face. Unifor will continue to take action in every round of bargaining to negotiate provisions for survivors and we will challenge all forms of sexism that lead to violence in our communities,” said Dias.
While this agreement was established as part of a dialogue at the Bell Aliant negotiating table, the union says that all employers should have a policy or program in place to address the ways that domestic violence enters the workplace.
“We all have a responsibility to be part of eliminating violence against women,” said Lana Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director. “We bargain these provisions in the names of all women who have lost their lives to violence. I commend Bell for its leadership.”