Dans un article précédent, l'auteur s'est efforcé de dégager le climat nouveau dans lequel s'inscrivent les relations de travail en Europe.
Dans la présente étude il tente de dégager, à même les systèmes européens de relations industrielles, les caractéristiques les plus significatives ainsi que les institutions de droit et de fait informant la négociation et la convention collective de travail et concourant à la paix industrielle dans les pays étudiés.
This article is not intended to give a descriptive and detailed account of the institutions and legal structures which, in each phase of labour relations, organize relations between the partners in every country under review. Such an analysis would be too long and too exhaustive in view of the scope of this study and, in any event, would only repeat what has already been done in many excellent publications readily accessible to and well known by those who may be interested in such matters. Instead, an attempt will be made to determine from the European industrial relations systems the most significant characteristics, the most interesting formula for Canadians, the institutions in law and fact which can best be compared to our own institutions in conformity with the purpose of our study. We will attempt to do this in respect of each of the main phases of labour-management relations as they operate in the countries under review.
A — LABOUR COLLECTIVE NEGOTIATIONS AND AGREEMENTS
It should be noted at the outset that, in matters of negotiations and labour relations more generally, one distinction should first be made. Whereas some countries like Great Britain, Sweden and Denmark maintained almost intact their pre-war legislative and institutional frameworks, the collective negotiation systems of the countries of the European Economic Community, i.e., France, Belgium, Holland, West Germany and Italy, all underwent transformations, at times drastic since 1945, through new or renewed constitutional provisions or amended or entirely different legislation.
Most of the changes were based on an increasing acceptance of the existence of trade unions and on a better defined and more liberal status for collective agreements. During the period of intensive reconstruction, from 1945 to about 1950, the liberty of the parties in determining salaries was obviously kept at a minimum by restrictive regulation.1 But, with the exception of this brief severely « controlled » period, the trend was generally in the direction mentioned above. Even in the Netherlands where controls are still relatively severe, because of the prevailing situation, some relaxation has become apparent in recent years. One indication is the substitution of the Labour Foundation to the State Mediators College for the approval of collective agreements. Also, and this may appear to be paradoxical at first sight but quite logical after proper examination, it was precisely during this period, from 1945 to 1950, that new formulas now accepted were tried out and underwent their first practical tests.
The Status of Collective Agreements
It must be pointed out that, for our purposes, collective agreements generally in European countries, in Great Britain and Scandinavia as well as in the Common Market countries, consisted primarily of extensive regulations covering individual labour contracts. It is not comparable to our local agreements which cover and control every detail of industrial life at the plant level and in day to day working relations. It is relatively free of substantial regulations governing working conditions in the various industrial units to which it applies.
It is necessary to make these comments in view of the situation on this side of the Atlantic. It must be pointed out, however, that for the last fifteen years or so in Common Market countries and even longer in the Scandinavian countries, considerable progress was made in improving agreements either at the level where they are negotiated or through the development of enterprise agreements themselves, which are now much more prevalent than they were before the war.
Agreements consist primarily of « minimum compulsory standards of individual contracts between each employer and his employees ». 2 This situation derives from the conditions in connection with industrial relations systems in Europe, but it also demonstrates the still powerful influence of common law in Europe generally on labour relations, in contrast with what one might surmise at first sight. If it is true that « sociologically » several countries such as Great Britain and Scandinavian countries as well as Belgium have,in practice, gone far beyond pure legal formalism, the fact remains that legally individual contracts regulate in the final analysis day to day working relations between individual employees and management. This is apparent, for example, in the settlement of disputes concerning general working conditions. In any event, collective agreements have no legal status of their own in several countries, notably in England, Belgium 3 and Italy. Evidently, however, they are often in practice more effective there than in countries where they have a real legal status. The fact remains however that, since they are designed as minimum standards often without substance and leaving a great deal to the sole discretion of management in determining most actual working conditions, they do not contribute significantly to sound co-operation in industrial relations at the local level. 4
The Parties to Agreements
France and the Netherlands require that a union be a legal entity to sign collective agreements as defined in labour legislation. Other countries, such as Sweden and Germany, recognize the obligation for parties to an agreement to « keep the peace » while the agreement is in force and penalties are provided for in this matter.
This point is interesting for industrial peace. In England, where trade unions are not legal entities, and are protected by statute from legal actions in their endeavours in pursuing their economic interests in labour relations, certain parties recently expressed the opinion that, in order to check non-official strikes which have been so numerous in recent years, trade unions should be given legal entities, respect agreements as contracts and therefore be legally responsible for the actions of their members, particularly the shop stewards, as is the case in Sweden and West Germany, for example, in the event of strikes or any other action taken in contravention of duly negotiated agreements.5
But what is more important for the purposes of a study such as this one, in connection with parties to an agreement, is that, in Western Europe and in every country under review, collective agreements still come under the jurisdiction in the vast majority of cases not of labour units at the local level or individual employers, but of vast employer and labour groups, generally at the level of a complete industrial branch and, in some contries such as Sweden and Denmark, at the level of the economy as a whole. 6 On the whole, the statutes reviewed are very clearly directed in this manner. So much so in fact, that one could assume that legislators intended in those countries to center labour relations negotiations on the greater units (federations and confederations grouping wage-earners or management) so that the resulting agreements would be more readily integrated in general economic and social policies in these countries, and that agreements entered into would have a « community » feature and negotiating parties would consequently be more conscious of the implications of their decisions on working conditions for the economy as a whole in such countries.
All legislative texts to define collective agreements as capable of being entered into by individual employers and trade unions without giving further details, but a wide range of provisions actually favour clearly negotiations beyond the local level, notably the industry branch level.
The Extension of Agreements.
There is the possibility provided for almost universally of the local extension of labour collective agreements in Europe, under certain conditions. It is in a sense the logical consequence of the negotiations system in these countries, which consider much more readily that the determination of working conditions results from vast regulations, undoubtedly negotiated for the greater part, but always designed to be used as standards for large sectors of the economy and therefore capable of being more readily integrated in the framework of general salary and working conditions policies, and one can only agree that this is somewhat opposed to the spirit of our North American industrial relations systems. With the extension procedure, public powers in almost all of the countries under review were able to obtain full participation of labour and management associations in the determination of working conditions, even in those sectors where they are not fully represented, and laying down at the same time certain conditions so that standards set by private parties are truly representative of the areas to which they apply and do not disrupt industrial sectors. The precautions taken in such countries before granting extension should be remembered if ever we attempted to follow this course more extensively.
Briefly, what are these precautions ? In France, under the provisions of the statutes of February, 1950, only those associations representing management and labour can enter into an agreement capable of extension. Management representation must be an « association » under the terms of the act, i.e., have legal status. The same applies obviously to labour.De facto groups can enter into « ordinary » agreements but not an agreement capable of extension. This is all the more so for an individual employer who could never negotiate towards extension as can be done under the terms of the Collective Agreements Act of Québec. Furthermore, groups on both sides must be « representative » of the trade group or sector covered, be it local, regional or national. Nothing in the texts defines « representative », but the courts and administrative practice have provided for this. The detailed enumeration of the criteria would fall outside the scope of this study Furthermore, they must include a certain number of clauses whose provisions themselves obviously remain free. Generally, extension covers the whole of a pre-determined industry branch and even, in some cases, to the whole of the branches at the national level, for example, the national intertrade agreement on supplementary pensions.
In Germany, at least 50% of the workers involved must already be covered by an agreement before it can be extended, and there are certain other conditions. In Italy, nothing in the texts positively provides for legal extension but in practice, under the constitution and the powers given in the 1959 statutes, the government has practised extension in certain cases, at least in matters relating to salaries. In Belgium, an agreement can only be imposed on non-contracting parties if it has been entered into within a joint parity commission where the parties involved must also be « representative ». In Holland, extension is not considered an exceptional procedure, because it applies automatically when an agreement is approved by the Labour Foundation, a consultative parity organization at the national level with which we will deal further on. As for Great Britain, we are familiar with their wages councils system, which can extend salary standards in trade union sectors to the whole of a branch or region. In Sweden and Denmark, this extension procedure is non-existent as such in law, but trade unionism is so powerful and the authority of negotiation parties is so effective that, in practice, the few employees not covered by agreements obtain the same advantages as the others. Furthermore, in Sweden, the provisions of the 1928 Labour Collective Agreements Act permit terms of an agreement to be in a manner of speaking « imposed » through pressures during negotiations disputes between an employer who is not covered and his employees, by those who are already covered (strike or sympathy action).
It must be noted that extension procedure is not a new development achieved during recent years. The fact remains that it is always practised and that it is still in most European labour laws, and this is why we take note of it here without evaluating its chances of disappearance or survival during the next few years.
Negociation Through Joint Organizations
One of the most common formulas used in Western Europe for collective negotiations, and for that matter for several other labour relations aspects (for example dispute settlements ) is what is called « paritism ». Paritism consists of any formula or any institution within which the social partners meet, discuss, negotiate and determine « jointly », generally without the help of a third party and without resorting to open dispute, the relations systems between them in connection with labour relations, and every other aspect of their relations on problems of any type. Paritism implies necessarily a certain equilibrium of forces, a mutual recognition of the diverging points of view of the partners, a determination to achieve compromise where possible, a certain consensus on the long-term objectives to be reached by each party, and, finally, a certain maturity which will incite the partners to make all possible decisions on their own, while limiting as far as possible resorting to arbitration and compulsory decisions by the public powers.
In our opinion this constitutes the most spectacular post-war development in certain continental European countries in relation to institutionalized co-operation in labour relations.
What differentiates the situation in negotiations co-operation as between Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries on the one hand and the countries of the European Economic Community on the other hand, is that in the former countries government abstention is almost total (joint decision procedures were developed in those countries as safeguards against state intervention) while in those countries of the latter group where they are most prevalent, measures were initiated following increased intervention of the public powers in the field of labour-management relations, after the Second World War. In such countries, paritism is not the same as in the former countries and is not the result of agreements between parties (free « contractual » system), but rather of co-operation with the public powers who included these matters in a « policy », by instituting them and by maintaining them with the support of the interested parties (accepted « statutory » system ).
B — DISPUTE SETTLEMENTS AND INDUSTRIAL PEACE
The dispute settlement system in labour relations vary considerably from one country to another. It is therefore extremely difficult to sift out common features which could, by themselves, give a good idea of the overall situation in this connection. As for individual labour dispute settlements certain West European countries, at least from a legal point of view, have no other procedure than common law. In Holland, for example, there are labour magistrates, but they are operating within ordinary jurisdictions. In France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, as well as in Belgium labour tribunals deal with these disputes. In Germany and Sweden for example, the decisions of these tribunals are final and without appeal. On the other hand, in France, beyond a certain amount, appeal can be made to appeal courts and to the social chamber of the Appeal Court. In England, nothing in the Act imposes recourse to labour tribunals which do not exist. An individual dispute is legally based on the individual labour contract (as is the case for the other countries mentioned above) and there can be, in theory, recourse to ordinary tribunals. In practice, a whole series of conciliation stages is provided between the parties from the local level up to the national level and, eventually, the dispute can be brought before the Industrial Court, whose decision in fact is not mandatory, unless the parties agree to it beforehand.
As to the distinction between legal disputes and disputes in interests, i.e., the interpretation or the violation of an existing agreement, during negotiations or the renewal of an agreement, certain countries make a clear distinction between these two types of disputes while other countries make no distinction at all. In the former group, mention could be made of West Germany, Sweden and Denmark where any dispute arising on the interpretation of a collective agreement must be brought before a labour tribunal, whether it is collective or individual ; this springs from a principle recognized in these countries that the signatories must respect industrial peace when they are bound by an agreement. The second group includes Belgium, Italy, England and France, where nothing in the statutes, as far as we know, prevents the eventuality of a strike during the term of an agreement in connection with a collective dispute, unless the parties had excluded this action in the agreement.
None of the countries have compulsory arbitration procedures for disputes of interests, at least as far as private services are concerned. Employer associations as well as employee associations were always firmly opposed to this, since, according to them, this would be tantamount to state salary controls, as is more or less the case in New Zealand and Australia. Management and labour representatives on the Belgian National Labour Council, during the study recently made by it of a proposed bill to organize collective social relations between workers and employers, were once again opposed to having a clause deal with this because « in connection with arbitration, the execution force results from arbitration compromise », achieved between the parties themselves if they deemed it advisable to submit to it.
In most European countries, conciliation procedures are a purely voluntary matter subordinated to the will of the parties. Obviously most of the countries have placed at the disposal of the parties, for a long time in many cases, conciliation and mediation services and the social partners themselves have often developed such procedures either through basic agreements to this end or through collective agreement themselves. The fact remains, however, that it is interesting to note how, in Canada, our labour laws are by far more stringent than those of these countries in Western Europe. In England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, there is no legal obligation to resort to conciliation procedures.
Only France, in spite of the fact that it liberalized significantly its legislation in this field since 1936, still maintains compulsory conciliation (without procedures) in case of industrial disputes. Section 5 of the statute of February 1950 states that all collective labour disputes must be submitted to conciliation. But this conciliation does not rule out strikes and can take place during strikes. Furthermore, no penalty is provided for in case this obligation was not fulfilled, except that a fine can be levied for failing to appear before the Conciliation Commission.
If, as we have just seen, legislation is most summary and not compulsory in relation to conciliation or mediation procedures in European countries, this does not mean, and far from it, that conciliation and mediation are non-existent in their labour relations systems. Quite to the contrary, in most countries, conciliation is common practice on a voluntary basis. The social partners preferred to rely on their own initiative in this field rather than see the government intervene.
It must also be said that where joint organizations exist at the level of the branch activity, as is the case for example in England, Belgium and the Netherlands, these organizations are expected not only to negotiate agreements but also to settle disputes arising between the parties and they constitute, because of this, the best channel through which these disputes are taken up and settled. Paritism plays an important role in this sector. Since collective agreements are generally centralized at their level, these joint organizations constitute the logical terminal for the settlement of disputes. In our opinion, this is an important example of institutionalized co-operation allowing the parties themselves, often without the help of third parties, to settle their own problems without resorting in most cases to tests of economic strength or violence. This is also due to the fact that, in Europe, management and labour confederations effectively control their affiliated bodies and members.
England's experience in this field is quite revealing. This may be where the control of the central authority over the basic elements at the local level is at its weakest and least efficient both for employers and workers. The presence of the shop steward, who represents the union but holds his authority from the members he represents, often excludes any « real » presence of the confederation in the establishment. In Great Britain, the number of days lost through strikes or lockouts has increased in recent years in comparison to the other countries of Western Europe, in spite of joint industrial councils and long tested procedures for private conciliation at the industry branch level.
All this tends to show that everywhere where control from top to bottom is even slightly effective, co-operation is made much easier when it is achieved at a higher level, where the dispute is out of the hands of the interested parties, to be studied, often more objectively and without emotional factors, within parity organizations designed to find objective solutions.
The Swedish Experience
In our opinion, the Scandinavian countries, Sweden and Denmark, offer the best examples of industrial peace. Sweden is probably the country which has the
least legislative texts on labour-management relations and it could be said that « the parties themselves constitute the main centre of regulations and government of industrial matters ». 7
In Sweden, the existing legislation presently confîrms what the parties have been practising by themselves, according to their experience and the positions of power and strategy they occupied in the economic and political contexts. By itself the fear of state intervention was enough in Sweden to bring the parties to discipline themselves in disputes.
It should be noted that since the turn of the century, the Swedish Management Confederation and the Swedish General Labour Confederation agreed to keep at a minimum all possible regulations by the public powers, to recognize that during the term of an agreement a dispute in law should never be solved by resorting to force, to determine amongst themselves the nature of the disputes and to attempt to solve them by themselves. In fact, this last point had already been the subject of a summit agreement in 1908.
The 1938 basic agreement was primarily featured by industrial peace. It covers almost all phases of relations between the parties, negotiation procedures for the protection of neutral third parties in case of disputes and of economic sanctions, through voluntary and final settlement of disputes arising out of collective labour agreements, as well as the establishment of regulations designed to solve problems of working conditions : employment procedures, separations, lay-offs, firings, and all questions related to personnel management. Finally, procedures were set up to solve disputes which could become a menace to the proper operation of essential public services. The highlight of the 1938 agreement was the creation of the Labour Market Commission, a parity commission with multiple functions, such as negotiations and, on occasion, conciliation and arbitration. It should be added that there are other basic agreements, too numerous to mention, covering every wage-earner sector, which were agreed to in Sweden. They constitute a « private » network of incomparable labour-management co-operation.
The Swedish and Danish systems are original8in comparison with other countries in Western Europe. Other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands enjoy widespread industrial peace but it results perhaps more from legislation, institutional structures responsible to the public powers, or simply from strong public opinion which checks trade union power in periods of full employment and economic prosperity. Yet, in the case of Sweden, this peace is primarily due to the quasi-public status of the social partners and to their substitution, for all intents and purposes, to the State in the determination and application of procedures designed to safeguard industrial peace. In France, the relative absence of economic disputes is due to the weakness of unions and to the fact that, at the enterprise level, it is still the employer in many cases who makes unilateral decisions for a great number of problems. In Great Britain, where labour movements are strong and militant at the base, the weakness of the confederations in relation to their local units and to the T.U.C. in relation to both its affiliated bodies and the public bodies, together with the deficient nature of the structures, make tensions much stronger there than elsewhere and inhibit co-operation as it exists in Sweden. This is in opposition to what is happening in other European countries for, under pressure of full employment, the power of shop stewards was increased proportionately so that confederations are increasingly isolated from the very life of labour relations at the base. Consequently, this gap in the processes of authority within trade unions prevents actual control at the local level and allows disputes at the local level.
(1) Some examples are in France the 1946 Act limiting liberty in determining salaries and, in the Netherlands, the requirement for the approval of the State Conciliators Office, as of 1945, for a collective agreement to come into force.
(2) GÉRARD DEHOVE, « Le droit et la pratique des conventions collectives dans les pays de la C.E.E. », political social séries No. 6,Etudes Collection, European Economics Community, Brussels, 1963, p. 14.
(3) In Belgium, for example, as well as in England for that matter, collective agreements cannot apply legally to individual labour contracts even as minimum standards, except under royal decree in certain circumstances.
(4) It must be noted, however, that in England tradition often supplements agreements in due form and sociologically « determines » numerous items in working conditions.
The same applies to Scandinavian countries, where trade unionism is prevalent at the local level and where there are establishment contracts provided for by Agreements.
Also, in Germany, « enterprise councils » or « works councils » actually negotiate many things at the local level with interested employees.
Finally, in France, following the 1950 Act, general collective agreements were improved and establishment contracts have spread, especially since the 1955 Reynaud contract.
Nevertheless, we feel that our statement remains true generally.
(5) B.C. ROBERTS, Edit,Industrial Relations, Contemporary Problems and Perspectives Metheiea & Co. Ltd., London 1962, p. 15.
(6) The trend, both in fact and in law, during recent years in Europe towards negotiations on a much narrower basis will be reviewed later.
(7) T.L. JOHNSTON,Collective Bargaining in Sweden, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., London, 1962, p. 115.
(8) The Danish system is quite similar to that of Sweden and could have been cited as an example. Limitations of this thesis compelled the author to use one illustration only.
Jan K. Wanczycki
The author in this article examines the status of unions and collective agreements under the new Québec Labour Code. He first presents a brief historical review of the laws and decisions concerning this matter not only in Québec but also in the common law provinces. He goes on stating the conditions prevailing in Québec as well as in the other provinces up to the enactment of the Code. He finally analyses the new provisions of the Labour Code governing the status of unions and collective agreements covered by it.
Avant la passation du Code du Travail du Québec, les principales dispositions affectant le statut des syndicats et des conventions collectives au Québec étaient contenues dans la loi des Relations ouvrières et dans celle des Syndicats professionnels. En vertu de la loi des Syndicats professionnels, un syndicat ouvrier pouvait acquérir une personnalité légale en suivant la procédure appropriée. Une convention collective signée par un tel syndicat constituait un contrat négocié librement entre l'employeur et le syndicat ouvrant des recours devant les tribunaux et liant seulement les employés qui en étaient membres ou qui l'avaient joint plus tard. La loi des Syndicats professionnels ne contenait pas de dispositions touchant le règlement des conflits pendant la durée de la convention collective par une procédure de griefs ou par l'arbitrage à sentence exécutoire.
Dans le contexte de la loi des Relations ouvrières, les syndicats (non incorporés en vertu de la loi des Syndicats professionnels) étaient des associations volontaires sans personnalité légale propre. Les conventions collectives signées par de tels syndicats n'étaient pas des contrats librement négociés donnant droit de recours devant les tribunaux, mais s'apparentaient à la nature des « gentlemen's agreements » conclus par les employeurs et les syndicats certifiés comme agents de négociation et liant non seulement les membres du syndicat mais tous les employés de l'unité de négociation. Les employeurs devaient négocier de bonne foi avec des agents de négociation certifiés. La loi des Relations ouvrières ne prévoyait pas le règlement devant les tribunaux des griefs relevant des conventions collectives, mais l'amendement de 1961 à la Loi prévoyait l'arbitrage obligatoire et à sentence exécutoire de ces griefs.
Le seul recours judiciaire devant les tribunaux inclus dans la Loi était une poursuite de caractère pénal en vertu de la loi des convictions sommaires du Québec pour infractions aux dispositions de la Loi. Depuis 1946, les dispositions de la loi des Relations ouvrières en regard de la nature et de l'application des conventions collectives s'appliquèrent aux conventions collectives conclues par les syndicats incorporés en vertu de la loi des Syndicats professionnels et certifiés comme agents négociateurs en vertu de la loi des Relations ouvrières. En 1938, une loi pour faciliter l'exercice de certains droits rendit possible le recours devant les tribunaux contre des syndicats non incorporés en leur propre nom. Ces dispositions furent ajoutées à l'amendement de 1960 au Code de procédure civile en permettant aux syndicats non incorporés de poursuivre en leur nom collectif.
Alors que ces amendements fournissaient une procédure qui permettait aux syndicats non-incorporés de poursuivre ou d'être poursuivis en leur nom, elle n'affectait pas la position des syndicats non-incorporés en tant qu'associations volontaires sans personnalité légale.
En régime de common law, les syndicats ouvriers comme tels avaient été considérés sans existence ni personnalité légale distincte de leurs membres individuels et conséquemment ils étaient exemptés des procédures judiciaires en leur propre nom. Les conventions collectives d'après le common law n'avaient pas été considérées comme contrats ouvrant des recours devant les tribunaux, mais plutôt s'apparentaient à des « gentlemen's agreements ». Cette approche en common law relativement au statut des syndicats et des conventions collectives s'est reflétée dans la législation patronale-ouvrière qui apparût dans les années qui suivirent la deuxième guerre-mondiale dans le domaine de juridiction fédérale aussi bien que dans la législation provinciale en common law. En même temps, en ce qui concerne le statut des syndicats ouvriers, certaines lois ont prévu d'accorder aux syndicats une personnalité légale afin qu'ils puissent être poursuivis en leur propre nom pour les offenses commises contre les Lois. En conséquence les tribunaux prétendaient que ces dispositions ne pouvaient pas être interprétées comme permettant également aux syndicats de poursuivre en leur nom.
En conséquence, la loi des Relations ouvrières fut amendée au Manitoba et au Nouveau-Brunswick afin d'habiliter les syndicats à poursuivre comme entités légales. Dans la plupart des juridictions, la législation ouvrière n'indiquait pas si les syndicats étaient capables de poursuivre ou d'être poursuivis en leur nom en tant que personnes légales. La présomption était à l'effet que les syndicats ouvriers étant des associations volontaires, la seule possibilité qui leur restait de poursuivre ou d'être poursuivis en justice était par la voie d'une action représentative. Dans quelques cas, cette vue fut confirmée par les tribunaux. Dans plusieurs autres cependant, les tribunaux considèrent les syndicats comme des entités légales en regard des lois de Relations ouvrières et des procédures judiciaires découlant de ces lois. Finalement, dans la cause,International Brotherhood of Teamsters, local No. 213, vs Henri Thérien (1960) 22 D.L.R. (2d) p. 1, la Cour Suprême du Canada soutint qu'un syndicat ouvrier, en vertu de la loi des Relations ouvrières de la Colombie-Britannique, est une entité légale non seulement en regard de la loi des Relations ouvrières, mais aussi du common law et peut être tenu responsable en son nom pour dommages, soit pour aller à l'encontre d'une disposition de la loi des Relations ouvrières, soit en vertu du common law.
Dans quelques décisions qui suivirent ce jugement, les tribunaux prétendirent que le principe établi lors de la causeThérien était applicable aux syndicats ouvriers en vertu de la législation ouvrière au Manitoba, en Ontario et en vertu de la loi fédérale I.R.D.I. Cette évolution du common law en regard du statut des syndicats s'est reflétée dans des dispositions légales dans quelques provinces. L'approche originelle du common law qui apparentait les conventions collectives à des « gentlemen’s agreements » s'est changée à la suite des dispositions légales concernant le caractère exécutoire des conventions collectives, la méthode de faire appliquer de telles conventions par l'arbitrage obligatoire et à sentence exécutoire, et en raison des dispositions qui faisaient d'une infraction à la convention une offense en vertu de la Loi et objet de poursuite. Ceci amena les tribunaux (incluant la Cour Suprême du Canada) dans la cause Polymer Corporation and Oil Chemical Atomic Workers International Union, Local 16-14 (1961), 26 D.LR. (2d) 609; (1961) 28-D.L.R. (2d) 81; (1962) 33-D.L.R. (2d) 124; d'appuyer la position prise par le tribunal d'arbitrage formé en vertu de la convention collective à l'effet que pour les fins de l'arbitrage une convention collective est un contrat et que le tribunal pouvait octroyer des dommages-intérêts pour infraction à une convention collective, même si un tel pouvoir n'était pas explicitement inclus dans la convention. L'Amendement de 1962 à la loi des Relations ouvrières du Manitoba établit spécifiquement qu'une infraction à une convention collective est passible d'une poursuite pour dommages-intérêts devant les tribunaux.
Avant la passation du Code du Travail du Québec, trois versions du bill 54 furent présentées à la Législature québécoise. La première version du bill définissait un syndicat d'une façon fondamentalement semblable à la définition contenue dans la loi des Relations ouvrières. La définition incluait à la fois les syndicats incorporés comme syndicats professionnels et les syndicats non-incorporés, les premiers étant des entités légales et les derniers des associations volontaires. Cependant, le Bill ajoutait une nouvelle disposition (S. 38) par laquelle un syndicat « accrédité » ou « reconnu » devait posséder une personnalité légale quoique restreinte à l'exercice des droits et recours selon le Code du Travail ou toute convention collective. En conséquence, le statut d'associations volontaires devait être restreint aux syndicats non-incorporés n'étant pas « certifiés » ni « reconnus ». La définition de convention collective était semblable à celle contenue dans la loi des Relations ouvrières et reflétait l'approche selon laquelle une convention collective ressemblait à un « gentlemen's agreement », et non à un contrat donnant recours devant les tribunaux. Le Bill contenait des dispositions concernant le caractère exécutoire des conventions collectives qui considérait une infraction à de telles conventions comme une offense en vertu du Code et pouvant faire l'objet de poursuites et de convictions sommaires. La première version du bill prévoyait aussi que les dispositions de la convention collective applicables à un employé feraient partie pleno jure de son contrat individuel d'emploi et que l'employé pouvait réclamer les avantages de telles dispositions (S. 57). Cette disposition devait permettre aux employés de faire valoir leurs griefs en vertu des conventions collectives directement devant les tribunaux et conséquemment cette disposition venait en conflit avec les dispositions du Code concernant le mode obligatoire de règlement des griefs en vertu de la convention collective en dehors des tribunaux par voie d'arbitrage obligatoire et à sentence exécutoire.
La seconde version du bill 54 prévoyait qu'« une convention collective donne ouverture à tous les droits et recours prévus par la loi pour la sanction des obligations.»
Le libellé de la section 54 impliquait l'abandon de l'approche qui apparentait les conventions collectives à des « gentlemen's agreements » et qui était fondamentalement celle de la loi des Relations ouvrières et de la première version du Code, et qui rendait les conventions collectives des contrats civils permettant recours devant les tribunaux. La section 54 venait en conflit avec les dispositions concernant l'arbitrage obligatoire et à sentence exécutoire des conflits en vertu des conventions collectives.
La troisième version du Bill laissait tomber les sections 38, 54 et 57; en conséquence le Code ainsi adopté retournait au concept contenu dans la loi des Relations ouvrières du Québec à l'effet que tous les syndicats (exceptés ceux incorporés en vertu de la loi des Syndicats professionnels) sont des associations volontaires sans statut propre et que les conventions collectives ne constituent pas des contrats donnant recours devant les tribunaux.
Quelques notions qu'on entretienne sur le syndicalisme de cadres, il convient de le situer, comme concept et comme fait, dans le contexte plus large de la réalité sociale, économique, politique etjuridique du milieu même dans lequel on souhaite ou redoute son épanouissement. De même, il faut tenir compte de la tradition et des structures administratives des entreprises de ce même milieu. Tout emprunt, en cette matière, à des conceptions ou à des structures juridiques et administratives étrangères (pour fertiles que soient les comparaisons) doit s'entourer de beaucoup de circonspection, sous peine de flotter en pleine équivoque ou de n'être qu'une manoeuvre tactique.
No matter how one feels about supervisory and managerial. unionism, this level of organization must be pitted, as both concept and fact, against the larger context of law, sociology, economics, politics and business administration in a given society. This essay will develop no thesis, « pro » or « con ». It will lay emphasis on thelegal aspects, hoping for others to indicate, through careful research, the important differences (social, political, economic and administrative) existing between the European context (in which some form of supervisory and managerial unionism flourishes) and the North-American one (in which such unionism is practically non-existent).
Legislation in both continents is closely related to such divergent realities. It is clearly restrictive, as regards supervisors, managers and collective bargaining, in all of North America ; on the contrary, it is permissive in Europe, and particularly in France.
One distinction must be made at the outset betweenprofessional andmanagerial unionism. The professional employee relates to an intellectual discipline in which he has acquired competence after years of university training ; he often, although not necessarily, belongs to the supervisory or managerial ranks. The supervisor or manager, on the other hand, exercises a given amount of delegated authority, whether technical or administrative; he obviously does not have to be a professional man.
In Québec, as well as in the rest of Canada and the U.S., the collective bargaining legislation (the 1944 Labour Relations Act and the 1964 Labour Code) acknowledges two basic categories in organizations : those who manage, at whatever levels, and those who obey. In France, as well as in several European countries, three categories, rather than two, are recognized : the workers-employees, the employers, and the supervisors-managers in between, who are not on the board of administrators and are not responsible for general policies, although they participate in management, control or advising.
THE PROFESSIONAL SYNDICATES ACT (QRS 1941, Ch. 162)
In Québec, several hundreds of engineers have elected to associate through incorporation under the Professional Syndicates Act, first adopted in 1924 when legislators certainly did not have professional employees in mind, although the latter may legitimately use the law for their purposes of associating and acting collectively in a variety of endeavours : appearing before the courts, acquiring property, establishing indemnity funds, building houses, setting placement bureaus, administering professional undertakings, subsidizing co-ops, and « enter (ing) into contracts or agreements with all other syndicates, societies, undertakings or persons, respecting the attainment of their objects andparticularly such as relate to the collective conditions of labour » ( Art. 6, par. 9 ).
Section III of the Act, accordingly, covered the « Collective Labour Agreement », which could not belegally forced upon a reluctant employer.
THE LABOUR CODE (12-13 Elis. II, 1964, Ch. 45)
The new Labour Code has eliminated articles 21-26 of the Professional Syndicates Act, which constitute precisely Section III on collective bargaining. In other words, collective bargaining under the law, from now on, will be governed by the Labour Code alone.
The Code introduces no novelty with respect to the 1944 Labour Relations Act on supervisory and managerial unionism. It covers by its stipulations an association only « recognized » by the employer, but obviously favours an association « certified » by the Labour Relations Board (See articles 6, 21, 38,40ff, 49 and 123 to verify the legislator's preference for certification as illustrating the « plenitude » of the law ).
The new Code maintains the very spirit of the 1944 Labour Relations Act as regards the definition of the « employee ». Article 1, par. m excludes from the purview of the law : « 1. a person who, in the opinion of the Board, is employed as manager, superintendent, foreman or representative of the employer in his relations with his employees ; 2. a director or officer of a corporation... ». In other words, managers and supervisors are not to be legally considered as compulsory interlocutors at the bargaining table, although, again, they may be recognized « freely » as such by the employer.
For the first time, however, the Québec labour law covers professional employees as such for collective bargaining purposes, provided :
1. they belong to the same profession (art. 20) ;
2. they hold an absolute majority in a given bargaining unit ;
3. they be « employees » according to art. 1, par. m, which specifically excludes supervisors and managers.
THE AMBIGUOUSNESS OF THE TWO LAWS
According to the Professional Syndicates Act, therefore, professional employees « in similar trades, or doing correlated work » (art. 2), mayassociate, whether they belong or not to supervisory and managerial levels, andact collectively in a number of specific endeavours, although, since September 1st, 1964,not for collective bargaining purposes by legal compulsion or intent.
What happens, then, to a union of professional employees, both supervisory and non-supervisory, managerial and non-managerial, who have developed among one another a strong level of solidarity and belonging, who are incorporated together under a given law, and who finally ask their employer to recognize them « de facto », telling him at the same time that they do not intend to get a certificate from the Labour Relations Board ? They argue according to the following logic : « The right of association is basic ; we are associated under formal law by incorporation with colleagues of the same profession ; a corollary to this association is collective action, a privileged form of which is collective bargaining. We therefore want to bargain collectively all together for all of us ».
The employer may go along with that logic, out of sheer « social realism » or because he is faced with strong economic pressure (as, for instance, the threat of a strike ) on the part of the union. And yet, he is likely to prefer the « plenitude » of the law, that is, certification of the union before the Board. Or else, he may accept « de facto » recognition, provided both parties agree on the bargaining unit in which the union will have to demonstrate its majority ; failing this, the employer will attempt to convince the union to go before the Board for a certificate. And furthermore, his definition of a correct bargaining unit will probably try to equate the intent of the legislator as expressed in article 1-m of the Code ; in other words, he will attempt to exclude from the bargaining unit all professional employees who act in a supervisory or managerial capacity, thus painfully amputating the union for collective bargaining purposes. Should he decide to go beyond the spirit of the law, he may be accused by other employers of creating « dangerous precedents » and of « playing legislator » in a legal and administrative context which runs against such precedents.
Should the employer « play it safe » and stay at the level of article 1-m of the Code, he may be threatened with a strike. Should the strike occur, the legal position of the parties seems to be as follows :
1. If the union groups only non-supervisory professionals, i.e. « employees » under the Code, the latter may not legally strike to compel their employer to recognize them « de facto », since they may go before the Board to get a certificate which will impose bargaining upon the employer. If they strike, there is a breach of individual contract, with all accompanying risks for the individual professionals.
2. If the union groups only supervisory or managerial professionals, i.e. « employees »not covered by the Code, these would in vain ask for a certificate from the Board. They remain bound by their individual contract ; should they strike, this will be a breach of individual contract, which may be followed by strong disciplinary action, including dismissal.
3. If the union groups both supervisory and non-supervisory professionals, these may not legally strike to forcibly bargain with the employer, for reasons given above for each of the two categories of professionals.
Facts and precedents, however, are often more decisive than laws, provided they be backed by strong economic power and patient resistence by a sufficiently numerous group of useful employees. Such forceful « precedents » are often what makes new laws.
It is to be hoped that the intent of the legislator will be clarified as soon as possible and that, once made perfectly clear as representing the mores and the will of a majority of the people, it will be respected by all interests groups, so that, inasmuch as it is humanly possible, the individual business concerns (whether government or private) be not the scene of costly and painful tests of strength.
L'auteur analyse du point de vue méthodologique et du point de vue substantif la thèse exposée par Selig Perlman dans« A Theory of the Labor Movement ». Il en examine la consistance intrinsèque, l’utilité et les faiblesses. Il conclut que la théorie de Perlman est fondamentalement une apologie anti-marxiste dirigée principalement contre des propositions de Lénine. Une telle approche apporte une conception incomplète et normative du phénomène syndical. C'est pourquoi la thèse de Perlman demeure au niveau de généralisations dont l’utilité est limitée. En effet, considérant la base de la solidarité, les buts, les méthodes et les comportements syndicaux, elle ne fournit qu'une explication partielle, parfois subjective, des diverses composantes de faction syndicale.
In this article, the author provides a systematic and detailed analysis of the theory of Selig Perlman, and submits it to a critical evaluation, both in terms of methodology and substance. The following is a brief outline of Perlman's approach.
In his methodology, Perlman relies on three analytical elements: 1) three factors: the Power of subsistence of the capitalist system, the degree of influence of intellectuals upon organized labor, the level of maturity of the working class;
2) three characteristics: the strength of the institution of private ownership, the degree of class consciousness among labor, the inadequacy of political tools;
3) the psychology of manual labor.
The essence of Perlman's theory may be outlined in the following manner. At the basis of labor solidarity is « the consciousness of scarcity of opportunity ». This explains why the role of trade unions is to control job opportunities; « job control » is based on « job interests ». For this purpose economic action, through collective agreements and strikes, appears to be the most effective approach. Political action may play, at best, a supplementary role. This approach is bound to lead to equality in industrial relations and to democratization in the economic structure; this may be attained without going through class warfare and without introducing a socialist or a communist system.
A critical analysis of Perlman's theory brings out a number of points of methodological character:
a) Essentially, the theory is an anti-Marxist apology of the stability of the capitalist system, mainly directed against the position of Lenin. At the basis of the divergence between Perlman and Lenin is the different evaluation of the role of the « intelligentsia ».
b) Despite Perlman's claim to the contrary, he provides only a partial definition of trade unionism. This definition presents a scheme for a specific functional model; only through extension by means of a normative projection it becomes a general model for a true trade unionism.
c) The analytical variables are not independent one from another, and because of this their interrelation cannot be significant. The three factors are defined, in part, each one by means of the others. The three characteristics are a descriptive elaboration of the three factors within the American context. Psychological categories are implicit in the definition of the third factor.
d) The depreciatory concept of the « intelligentsia » reflects a subjective and biased approach to the problem of leadership in trade unionism. According to Perlman's definition, leaders who rose from the ranks of labor represent the concept of a « stable and responsible » trade unionism; in contrast, intellectuals, that is, « educated non-manualists », who enter the labor world introduce with them radicalism and revolutionary program of action, or advocate political action within trade unionism, in terms of Perlman's definition.
With regard to the substance of Perlman's theory, this writer suggests the following points for consideration:
a) The psychological approach ( « the consciousness of scarcity of opportunities »), despite some inconsistencies in definition and despite the fact that it may be regarded as typical for a particular group only, provides room for some useful generalizations; yet these generalizations are of limited character and cannot lead to theoretical conclusions. They reflect one element in workers' motivation to join the union and to support its activities. This element, in itself, cannot explain the process of labor organization, nor the occupational and territorial differentiation in the degree of unionization. Moreover, its origin is in the assumption of a state of chronic underemployment — a condition which is least favorable to labor solidarity.
b) The concept of « job control » is related exclusively to occupational goals.
c) Perlman sees in the joint system of control the most advantageous alternative; in his view, the autonomous system of control has no advantages, and control by external factors has an entirely secondary significance. By emphasizing collective negotiations he grossly underrestimates the importance of various forms of mutual assistance. Also, Perlman was not able, unfortunately, to provide a clear distinction between political activities of non-occupational character (revolutionary and other) and the utilization of political levers as a supplementary tool in realization of occupational and semi-occupational goals.
d) The idealistic concept of « parity » in industrial relations cannot be ignored. Its eventual realization will call for a framework different from that provided by Perlman; under modem conditions the solution for existing problems often cannot be found on local level and has to rely on the dynamic intervention of a new interested party — the state.
C. Brian Williams
In this paper, the author explains how the relationships between Canadian and American trade union centers have developed. Up to the year 1897, there was no continuous relation between union organizations of both countries. The new binational policy adopted by the majority of the TLC delegates at its 1902 convention brought-forth the split in the Canadian labor movement.
The unions expelled from the TLC founded the NTLC which became the CFL in 1908. When the latter disappeared in 1927, the French Canadian labor movement was about the only one to maintain its opposition to the American influence.
Jusqu'en 1897, le C.M.T.C. et la F.A.T. menaient leurs activités indépendamment l'un de l'autre et chacun de ces deux organismes limitait ses opérations à son propre territoire juridique. Mais à la suite de son congrès de cette année-là, la F.A.T. nomma un délégué auprès du C.M.T.C. afin de cimenter plus solidement les intérêts des syndicats ouvriers d'Amérique.
De son côté, le C.M.T.C. établit les bases de ses relations futures avec la F.A.T., au cours de son congrès tenu à Berlin (aujourd'hui Kitchener) en septembre 1902. D'ailleurs, à cette dernière occasion, John A. Flett, organisateur canadien de la F.A.T., fut élu président du C.M.T.C, ce qui confirmait la position de cette dernière centrale sur le syndicalisme binational. Les dirigeants de ces deux centrales conclurent même une entente, le 25 avril 1903.
Cependant, lors de son congrès de Berlin, le C.M.T.C. expulsa 23 organisations qui s'opposaient au syndicalisme binational. Les chefs de ces organisations expulsées, qui comptaient 3,340 membres, se réunirent immédiatement à Berlin afin de fonder une deuxième centrale nationale basée sur les principes du syndicalisme national. Ainsi naissait le C.N.M.T. qui tint son premier congrès annuel à Québec, en septembre 1903, sous la présidence de Omer Brunet.
A la suite du rapport de la Commission royale chargée d'enquêter sur la grève de 1903 des mineurs de charbon, le sénateur Lougheed présenta un projet de loi qui marqua le commencement d'un grand débat sur les relations entre les centrales syndicales canadiennes et américaines et qui porta le sujet à l'attention du public canadien. Le Sénat forma un sous-comité pour étudier cette question; les travailleurs et les employeurs firent connaître leurs opinions respectives.
Finalement, le projet de loi du sénateur Lougheed fut défait à la Chambre des Communes. Mais en 1907, le sénateur McMullen présenta un projet de loi semblable au précédent, dans lequel il proposait de considérer comme offense criminelle toute intervention d'officiers internationaux dans les conflits de travail au Canada. Cette tentative du sénateur McMullen de même qu'une autre qu'il fit pendant la session 1908-1909 échouèrent toutes les deux. Pendant ce temps, l'Association des Manufacturiers canadiens (C.M.A.) faisait des efforts dans le même sens.
L'exécutif du C.M.T.C. déclarait dans son rapport présenté au Congrès de 1910, que les antagonismes envers le syndicalisme binational qui s'étaient manifestés auparavant au Sénat étaient maintenant disparus. Cette prophétie s'avéra correcte. En effet, avec la disparition de la Fédération canadienne du Travail en 1927 (qui avait succédé au C.N.M.T. en 1908), le syndicalisme qui protestait contre l'influence américaine fit largement faillite, à l'exception du syndicalisme canadien-français. De fait, l'opposition du Congrès pan-canadien du Travail et de la Fédération canadienne du Travail en était une de forme plutôt que de fond.
Jurisprudence du travail
Accréditation syndicale – « Domination » d’un syndicat par un employeur – Demande conjointe de deux syndicats pour former la majorité dans une unité de négociation, selon le Code du Travail.
La Commission des relations du travail décide que le caractère de « domination » d'un syndicat par l'employeur, tel que prohibé par l'article 11 du Code du Travail, doit être apprécié par la Commission selon « la balance des probabilités », qui est la règle en droit civil. Une preuve circonstancielle, c'est-à-dire fondée sur des présomptions de faits, est suffisante pour décider « selon la balance des probabilités » qu'un syndicat est dominé par l'employeur.
La Commission décide aussi que deux associations peuvent s'entendre pour former la majorité requise pour l'obtention d'une accréditation syndicale dans une unité de négociation donnée, et ce, même si le Code du Travail ne reproduit pas le deuxième paragraphe de l'article 4 de l'ancienne loi des relations ouvrières de Québec. 1
1 L'Union des employés de MacFariane-Lefaivre Mfg. Ltd (Division Labelle) et l'Union des Ouvriers du cuir de Montréal, Local L-102, l'Union des Tailleurs en Chaussures, 118 LF, Locaux de l'Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of N.A. (AFL-CIO-CTC) les deux locaux conjointement, et Boucher et Lefaivre Ltd, la Commission des Relations du Travail; Dossier No. 8471-1-2-3, R-748A (1962) et R-34 (1964), Montréal, le 18 janvier 1965, Juge A.B. Gold, J.M.C.
Un tribunal majoritaire (l'arbitre syndical étant dissident) décide qu'un employeur n'est pas tenu de créer une occupation nouvelle lorsqu'il fait l'acquisition de machines nouvelles qui n'entraînent pas de changement dans les éléments essentiels d'une tâche.
Le simple fait d'inconvénients plus grands entourant l'utilisation de ces machines ne constitue pas une « occupation nouvelle » ou un « changement de tâche » au sens de la convention collective, mais justifie un taux de salaire plus élevé à ceux qui l'utilisent.1
(1) Forano Limitée et le Syndicat catholique des employés de Fonderies de Plessisville Inc. ; Me Jean-Réal Cardin, président, M. Denis Germain, arbitre patronal, M. Raymond Parent, arbitre syndical (dissident); Québec 18 décembre 1964.
Recensions / Book Reviews
Automation and Collective Bargaining, par Benjamin S. Kirsh, New York, Central Book Company, 1964, 219 pages.
Managerial Long-Range Planning, edited by George A. Steiner, McGraw-Hill Co., New York, 1963, 334 pages.
Economics of Labor Relations. By Gordon F. Bloom and Herbert R. Northrup. Fifth Edition. Richard D. Irwin, Inc., Homewood, Illinois, 1965, 911 pp.
Readings on Economic Sociology, Edited by Neil J. Smelzer, Readings in Modern Sociology Series, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1965, 303 pages / The Social Context of Economic Behavior, par W.T. Tucker, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1964, 163 pages.
Emploi et croissance économique. Rapport d’une mission du Bureau international du Travail. Genève, 1964, 202 rue Queen, Ottawa, 255 pages, $ 2.25.
The Contraction Out of Work. Canadian and U.S.A. Industrial Relations Experience, par F. John L. Young. Research Series No 1, Industrial Relations Centre. Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 1964, 149 pages.
« Les hommes devant les conversions industrielles ». Numéro spécial de la Revue de l’Action Populaire. No 185, Février 1965. 14, rue d’Assas, Paris.
Journal du travail. Publication mensuelle. Service de recherche et d’information. Ministère du travail du Québec. Hôtel du Gouvernement, Québec. Abonnement annuel $ 3.00.
Un faux dilemme – Embourgeoisement ou prolétarisation de la classe ouvrière. Jacques Delcourt et Gérard Lamarque. Office général du livre, Paris, 1963, 108 pages.
Tous droits réservés © Département des relations industrielles de l'Université Laval, 1965