The North Bay and District Labour Council says although the Liberal budget introduced yesterday includes some decent announcements for families, it remains a missed opportunity to raise the floor for Ontario workers by introducing a higher minimum wage. In a release, they say a higher minimum wage is a fundamental issue of equity because it’s women, racialized workers, immigrants and young people who are most likely to earn low wages and be stuck in precarious work.
Labour Council President Henri Giroux says the Changing Workplaces Review got some mention, but this budget doesn’t address that fact that workers doing the same work are getting paid less through temp agencies. Giroux added workers need paid emergency leave, like victims of domestic violence, and that replacement labour prolongs bargaining like what happened with the Children’s Aid Society lockout. He says the Liberals haven’t addressed these critical issues.
Giroux says if places like temp agencies continue to be allowed to skim off the backs of workers, employers will keep choosing to use replacement labour. He says the Liberals have all the tools to fix this problem, but for some reason they just don’t get it. Giroux asks why temp agencies are allowed to exploit precarious workers when there’s no headhunting going on for minimum wage jobs. He continues to say as leaders they’re supposed to protect and assist vulnerable people, not monetize a scheme that siphons the financial future straight out of the economy. Giroux finished by saying the bottom line is the budget appears to be designed to help families, but whether it can grow the economy through investment in front-workers remains to be seen.