Legal opinion on right to refuse pamphlet
Published: May 29, 2007
Brothers & Sisters,
We have had reports that the attached pamphlet is being passed to our members by someone outside the property.
We have had our legal counsel review the pamphlet and offer their thoughts
and advice. We strongly suggest that our members take notice of the advice and
be governed accordingly.
In cases where a work refusal is done , the CIRB has already made rulings and following is a quote from one of their decisions.
"The right to refuse is an emergency measure. It is to be used to deal with situations where employees perceive that they are faced with immediate danger and where injury is likely to occur right there and then. It cannot be a danger that is inherent in the work or that constitutes a normal condition of work. Nor is the possibility of injury or potential for danger sufficient to invoke the work refusal provisions; there must in fact be danger. Nor is the provision meant to be used to bring labour relations issues and disputes to a head. Where such refusals coincide with other labour relations disputes, the Board will pay particular attention to the circumstances of the refusal."
We are quite concerned that the document authored will be seen as some sort of authority to go ahead and use the right to refuse as a weapon against the employer involved within a labour dispute, and may have serious consequences for members. Such refusals must be in line with the law and the circumstances at the time of the refusal, not the circumstances of a labour dispute.
Dave Able/Dave Olson