by Robert Sexsmith
There is a growing number of working people who are stuck in jobs that don’t earn enough to pay the rent and feed their families.
The question, “Is your work working for you?”. There is growing job creation, some growth in real wages and household savings, yet the facts are that we still need more than a $15.00 an hour wage that is not part time but for a 35/40 hour week job, so that it entitles the worker to paid holidays and a vacation, plus some benefits. The precarious employment from part-time, temporary, contract and subcontracted work, hardly pay for transportation, between jobs, pay the increasing rent, or put food on the table. Or let you collect “employment insurance” hours when you get let go.
At the same time there is surprising growth in the number of working poor and a widening gap between those that earn the most and those that earn the least. Everyone else struggles to get by and the poorest worker get left behind. There is a growing number of working families slipping into poverty. Those with jobs make up the second largest number of food bank clients.
The new job market being created are not replacing the wage rate of the jobs being lost in any employment sector? In a tight job market, employers should be able to offer permanent (at a living wage) yet most adult worker (and young ones trying to be employed) still find themselves working where employers exploit weak, outdated labour laws where they have fewer rights in the workplace and difficulty exercising existing rights in a temporary job or some form of self-employment.
There has been a proportion of short term contracts but mostly through social enterprise and entrepreneurship created through local programs as a local jobs strategy that provides the means for the working poor to improve their skills, including basic literacy and numeracy programs. Those that have an obsession with making money and retaining money need to understand that larger the pool of working poor and cuts to the 60/70% of benefits from a civil society are being aggressively removed from their purchasing of products or services they need: seniors health care, cost of drugs, schooling for children with special need, child care that is affordable.
Who pays for the stated goal of creating a more equitable economy with the delays of public funding to meet real needs?
Robert (Bob) Sexsmith, the founder and former president of Huron Pines, is a tireless worker, affordable housing sponsor, union delegate, volunteer for a variety of community and neighborhood organizations, faith groups and Co-ops in London and area. His work with labour, Co-operative housing, broader housing issues, environment and poverty issues, has been well known in London since 1965. In 2012, Bob was one of the recipients of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for his contribution to our community.