Reducing wages and gutting protections for our provinces lowest paid workers proves Premier Ford is only interested in helping his corporate friends and has no problem hurting working people and their families to do it, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
Hahn’s comments come following today’s announcement that Ford is not only cancelling the increase to minimum wage but is also reversing the legislation that reduced the ability of employers to exploit part-time, contract and temp agency workers. Ford is also cancelling the two paid sick days and fair notification of schedule changes for non-unionized workers.
“Scrapping protections for the most vulnerable and precarious workers in our province is not the actions of a government that is truly ‘for the people’. Today’s actions will hurt thousands of working people, hurt their families and it will ensure that Ontario’s economy only benefits those at the very top,” says Hahn. “All across Ontario, workers and their families are struggling. They used to have money at the end of week, now they have week at the end of the money. If the Premier really wants to protect workers, he will rethink his plan.”
The new omnibus legislation will get rid of successor rights for all workers other than those in the building services. This means that homecare workers and other community workers would have to reapply for their jobs if the company contracted to provide those services changes.
“Once again, the lowest paid workers are being forced into more insecure work situations,” says CUPE Ontario’s Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “These are jobs that are mostly held by women providing help and protection to the sick and vulnerable in our communities. Not only will these changes make life harder for the women that do these job – it will also mean unreliable care for the seniors and others who depend on them. In what way is this good for the people?”
Ford’s plans will also make it harder for workers to join a union.
“In every community around this province, life has been getting harder for working people while those at the top just keep getting richer off their hard work. Unions are the last protection we all have from wages and benefits sliding even further backwards,” says Hahn. “Making it harder for workers to join a union makes it easier for employers to further exploit Ontario’s working people.”
Both Hahn and Rennick encourage people to not accept that this is a done deal, pointing out that in many ridings all around the province, Conservative MPPs won by only a small number of votes.
“We need to remind those MPPs that they were elected because they promised to be there for the people,” says Hahn. “We need to make sure they know that if they’re going to hold onto their seat in the next election they must make it clear to Premier Ford that this legislation is going way too far.”