Workers need good jobs and basic protection at work to address growing poverty said participants at a poverty symposium organized by the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumphries this week.
Participants talked about how plant closures are leading to growing numbers of unemployed workers in their communities. Part-time and precarious work is growing and is pushing workers into poverty. Local community members, politicians and community agencies want to find strategies to build good jobs.
WAC Coordinator, Deena Ladd, spoke about building the Stop Wage Theft campaign across the province as a critical step to address the deteriorating working conditions many communities are facing.
Over six million workers in Ontario rely on employment standards for basic wages and working conditions. But the results of WAC’s survey “Unpaid Wages, Unprotected Workers” that looked into the conditions and wages faced by low-waged workers, immigrants, newcomers and workers in precarious jobs showed that 1 in 3 workers reported being owed wages from their employers. Of these workers, 77% were not successful in getting those wages. This is the growing reality of work today for many low-wage workers.
We need to rebuild the floor of rights and protection for workers in Ontario, said Deena in her presentation. Regardless of their employment relationship or immigration status, workers should be able to count on protection on the job and a minimum wage that brings them out of poverty.