Massive Loss of Full-Time Jobs Terrible Set-back to Economic Recovery, says CAW President
TORONTO - CAW President Ken Lewenza called the loss of 139,000 full-time jobs a stunning reminder that the country still has a long way to go to recover from the dark days of the recession.
"Working people across the country are still finding it immensely difficult to find new jobs, especially those that provide a decent standard of living," said Lewenza. "July's unemployment statistics show that good jobs are on the decline while precarious work, characterized by part-time or temporary employment, is on the rise right across the country."
While the huge numbers of full-time jobs lost were almost wholly 'replaced' by part-time employment, Lewenza says the figures do not add up. "No-one should claim that one part-time job genuinely replaces a full-time one - many people have to work two or even three part-time jobs just to survive," said Lewenza.
Lewenza called for an extension of Employment Insurance stimulus measures, which would assist the country's unemployed workers, as many as half of whom count as long-term unemployed, unable to find work since the beginning of the recession. These measures include an extra five weeks of benefits for all claimants, a regional maximum of 50 weeks and extension of as much as 20 weeks for long-service workers and EI training benefits for claimants in approved retraining programs. "It would be dangerous and indeed a huge mistake for government to fail to extend these important programs," said Lewenza, adding that allowing EI special measures to expire for all new claims after September 11 would throw the country's very fragile recovery into peril.
Lewenza also called for a tri-partite jobs task force to look at the future of good full-time jobs in Canada. The task force would include participation from all three levels of government, business and labour. "We must consider what we want the economic direction of this country to be and what employment opportunities we ought to ensure are available for future generations," said Lewenza. "Right now, I'm not optimistic that we're leaving as many opportunities for the next generation as my own generation and previous generations enjoyed. We must do better."