Condemn Governments Which Do Not Treat
Unemployed Workers with Dignity and Respect
A Livelihood for All Unemployed Workers!
For the period of the federal election,
workers, organizations in defence of the unemployed and unions in
Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are stepping up the
fight for a pro-social reform of the Employment Insurance (EI) regime.
They formed a coalition to organize actions during the federal election
and after in defence of the rights of the unemployed.
Among other things, the
pandemic has laid bare
of more than three decades of the anti-social offensive carried
neo-liberal governments which has wrecked the prior already
Employment Insurance regime. Over these years, successive
integrated the fund with general revenues where they are made
available for pay-the-rich
schemes. They have lowered
the amount of benefits received and reduced the eligibility of
workers for EI
benefits to such an extent that today only about 40 per cent of
can access EI. It has deliberately been made extremely difficult,
impossible, for part-time, precarious, seasonal, so called
migrant workers, and many others to access EI. At the same time,
paid and the duration of benefits have been reduced through all
schemes, making the benefits insufficient to enable workers on EI
to live a
life in dignity. Fending for oneself has become the norm of EI
rights and harming them
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the destruction of EI and
its inability to deal with the massive loss of jobs that occurred
during the peak of the crisis in a manner that could sustain a proper
standard of living for the unemployed. Of the emergency measures put in
place, many were actually devised to sustain and increase the
profits of private companies during the crisis. In regard to the EI
regime, eligibility criteria were substantially relaxed, with the
threshold of hours of work needed to be eligible lowered and the
duration of the benefit period extended. The number of people receiving
EI benefits increased.
Those special EI measures are coming to an end
at the end of
September. Public relations double-talk by
government, media and spokespersons of the monopolies,
according to which we must get back to "normal,"
is accompanied with warnings that keeping "generous social
programs" in place will jeopardize "the post-pandemic recovery,"
create more "disincentives for recipients to go to work" and
increase the "shortage of labour." It is cruelly anti-people. It
increasingly the anxiety felt by many who can exercise no control over their lives.
Workers reject this anti-worker and anti-social propaganda with
utter contempt. Going back to "normal" and "business as usual" is a
return to the nightmare of wrecked social programs and the inability of
society to face crises such as the pandemic and jobs crisis which is
the result of the restructuring of the economy and treatment of workers
as disposable. Workers are defending the rights that belong to them as
producers of the wealth of society on which they have a claim, and as
human beings who are entitled to a dignified life.
Workers are gearing up to make sure the so-called post-pandemic
recovery is not used to block a human-centred alternative that affirms
the rights and dignity of all. They are fighting to open a path to a
new direction for the economy and for all the affairs of society. Going
back to "business as usual" is the last thing Canadians want and the
last thing society can afford.
All Out To Defend the Rights and Dignity of
All Unemployed Workers!
This article was published in
August 27, 2021 -