Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

May 24, 2012 14:19 ET

CLC, 'We Can't Trust the Government on EI'

Georgetti says plan is to reduce wages

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 24, 2012) - The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says that the federal government is pushing through changes to Employment Insurance in order to undercut the wages and employment conditions of all workers.

Ken Georgetti was responding to changes announced to the EI program in a news conference by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. Unemployed workers would be forced to make longer commutes to take jobs and some would have to take jobs paying as little as 70 per cent of what they were previously earning.

Georgetti challenged comments made by government ministers and MPs that jobs are not being filled because the unemployed do not want to work. "Government ministers and MPs keep saying that the unemployed don't want to work but Statistics Canada said just this week that there are 5.8 unemployed workers for every reported job vacancy in Canada."

He adds that the government should be putting money into training and apprenticeship programs which would train unemployed and young workers for available jobs. "We saw no new money in the federal budget for training. The government, it seems, would sooner pick on unemployed workers than help to retrain them."

Georgetti says that changes to EI are linked to the government's plan to make it easier for employers to bring in migrant workers and pay them less than the prevailing wage, and also to changes forcing future retirees to wait an extra two years for their Old Age Security benefits. "This government is intervening to load the dice against working people."

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Website: Follow us on Twitter: @CanadianLabour

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