Accueil » 40-3 ( 1985) » Les comités de santé et de sécurité du travail: tables de concertation ou de négociation?

Les comités de santé et de sécurité du travail: tables de concertation ou de négociation?

Kenneth George


Cet article cherche à caractériser l'expérience des comites de sante et de sécurité du travail par rapport à certains des objectifs importants à l'origine.


The purpose of this paper is to identify patterns in the behavior (or suggest hypotheses about the behavior) of the actors involved in joint committees on occupational health and safety. Specifically, the purpose is to see whether, in these committees, the parties adopt new cooperative attitudes on occupational health and safety, as promoted by Quebec's law, or whether they still keep to their traditional adversarial attitudes on these issues.

In the case of unionized firms, it seems that employers do not recognize the legitimacy of labor's participation as a decision-maker on thèse issues; moreover, employers consider meetings of the joint committees as negotiation sessions and they tend to analyze the topics discussed at thèse meetings within the traditional framework of management rights and ability to pay. Union organizations also continue to see occupational health and safety as issues to be negotiated, issues on which gains can be made essentially through the bargaining process. This conclusion stems from the 3 following attitudes commonly held within union organizations: first, union representatives on thèse committees are integrated in the union structure: secondly, unions refuse to sit with non-unionized workers on thèse committees (in firms where not ail workers are unionized); and, finally, in the study sessions they organize for their representatives on these committees, unions insist on the relationship between collective bargaining and what goes on in the committees.

In non-unionized firms, it can be suggested from a study of employer behavior on other issues that, unless external pressure is exerted, employers will do nothing to bring about the creation of joint committees on occupational health and safety; if a committee is created, management will consider it as subject to its own rights, not as an autonomous institution. As for the workers, they will adopt their «normal» behavior, the «passive» behavior they usually adopt towards their rights and prerogatives. They will not seek the creation of a joint committee, rather, they will tend, if need be, to call upon the governmental institution responsible for occupational health and safety. If a committee is created, it will not be an efficient means of worker participation. Thus, it seems that, even if the mechanism is new, actors behave in the same traditional way. This corresponds in fact to the American experience, particularly the predisposition to integrate any new institution of cooperation in the firmly established collective bargaining process.