Concerned Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents and representatives from various agencies, gathered at The Hub, a Mid-Scarborough community gathering space to launch a series of ‘Rights and Dignity at Work’ listening & campaign tour on Wednesday night
The Good Jobs for All, a community – labour coalition representatives were there to gather and listen from the group of mostly precariously employed or underemployed workers personal stories and to determine what is needed to address the key issues, including reforms to labour law and employment standards in Ontario.
Discrimination, outsourcing, low pay and unsafe work conditions were among the issues identified as major concerns in today’s workplace by the workers who attended the first Rights and Dignity at Work forum.
“Our campaign is to improve the working conditions of all workers,” said Andria Babbington, a coordinator of the Good Jobs for All. “Whether unionized or not but most specially those who are most vulnerable.” Babington said.
Recently a gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati, 44, of Toronto, died trying to stop a vehicle from fleeing the gas station allegedly without paying for the fuel the driver had just fill up. His wife later told several media outlets including CBC, Prajapati may have tried to stop the vehicle out of fear that the cost of the stolen gas would come out of his pay. Prajapati had immigrated to Canada from India in 2006.
“The good job is when a worker goes to work without any fear, have shared respect from his employer and dignity at work.”Babbington told Digital Journal. “And have a decent pay so people can look after their families.”
During the Rights and Dignity at Work forum representatives from Good Jobs for All and other social agencies around GTA also heard from workers how temporary agencies is negatively contributing to workers plight in not getting and keeping good jobs.
According to the workers, temp agencies dip into the pool of good jobs and leads to unsafe working conditions.
Temporary agency Kelly Services had sent a worker to an Exel Canada distribution plant for the $9 an hour job. Exel rushed him through training and he was put to work immediately at a Brantford warehouse in July 2005. A runaway forklift crushed a 53-year-old Milton man a few minutes into his second shift.
Governments must pass laws that help bring fairness and justice to the workplace. The Rights & Dignity at Work campaign will strengthen our ability to be able to speak up at work, said Babbington. “The ‘listening tour’ is one activity that will be conducted to achieve our campaign goals.”