Decent work a priority for Canada’s unions

October 4, 2018

October 7th is the World Day for Decent Work and this year’s global theme is “Change the Rules.”  Around the world and here in Canada, unions mark the Day for Decent Work by organising, campaigning and advocating for improved working conditions for all workers.

The Canadian Labour Congress is conducting campaigns calling on the federal government to address key issues affecting working people; calling for a change of the rules to create decent work and dignity for all Canadians.

“Improving the lives of all workers is always a top priority for Canada’s unions. The current climate of precarity and cut backs in Canada makes it more important than ever to advocate for good jobs to ensure stability and dignity for every Canadian worker,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “We believe that decent work must include access to affordable child care, bankruptcy protection for workers’ pensions and proactive pay equity legislation, just to name a few.”

On this Day for Decent Work, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to prioritize access to decent work in Canada by taking the following steps:

  • Restore the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, indexing it to wage growth, and bring back full employment as a primary policy target;
  • End wage discrimination and adopt strong, proactive pay equity legislation incorporating the recommendations of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force. Women’s wages shouldn’t come at a discount, but the gender pay gap in Canada hasn’t improved in decades. In fact, for many women it’s getting worse. Making pay equity the law would ensure different jobs are compared for their value in the workplace and evaluated based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, leaving no room for gender discrimination;
  • Reform bankruptcy laws to include protection for workers’ pensions and benefits.  Workers trade higher wages today in exchange for a pension in retirement – it’s wrong to force them to the back of the line when an employer goes bankrupt;
  • Make workplaces safe by strengthening federal legislation on sexual harassment and violence. Sexual harassment and violence remains a very serious barrier to women’s equality, especially in the workplace. Sexual harassment and violence can have serious consequences on women’s physical, emotional and mental health, and on their work performance. It can compromise their ability to advance in the workplace and even lead to job loss;
  • Fix the child care crisis and commit to long-term funding for high-quality, public, universal, affordable child care. Access to quality, affordable child care is about economic justice for women. Child care makes it possible for women to get a decent job, support their families, build a career, and further their education or skills training; and
  • Phase-out coal power through progressive policy that keeps people and communities at the center. The Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities will develop recommendations aimed at influencing Canada’s plans to phase-out coal power. These will include helping workers find comparable employment through retraining programs and resources to help affected communities transition their local economy.

Decent work means equal opportunities for everyone to get work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development, and social integration.

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