Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Province needs to act on recommendations

The New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice recently released its latest document – Justice for New Brunswick Workers. Included in it are seven recommendations that would improve the lives of all New Brunswickers.
The New Brunswick Union (NBU) supports the recommendations and encourages government to adopt the changes for the benefit of all provincial workers, both unionized and non-unionized.
The seven recommendations include:
• Increase the minimum wage to $15/h immediately, with planned future increases to make the minimum wage reach a living wage.
• Add 10 job-protected, non-cumulative annual paid sick days to the Employment Standards Act.
• Add vacation pay to the Employment Standards Act, starting at six per cent.
• Add overtime pay for those who make more than minimum wage.
• Provide compensation for uniforms or other necessary garments employees must wear while working.
• Increase job security by requiring employers to follow a binding three-strikes rule.
• Pay equity legislation in the private sector, which means equal pay for work of equal or comparable value.
“Our lobby document is presenting bold ideas that will better protect essential workers and all workers whose contributions have been so important in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Abram Lutes, provincial coordinator for the NB Common Front for Social Justice. “Ensuring living wages for all workers through a higher minimum wage, making it easier for workers to look after themselves and their family members with paid sick days, and bringing pay equity to the private sector not only has positive economic effects by reducing poverty and increasing the buying power of New Brunswickers, it also promotes a safer, healthier workplace and society.”
Incorporating the recommendations – many of which address poverty – would have a positive impact on the provincial economy. In its study The Cost of Poverty in the Atlantic Provinces, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimated addressing poverty would result in more than $1 billion in GDP growth for the province.
“Our Premier, through his statements and actions, places the economy and its growth above everything,” said NBU President Susie Proulx-Daigle. “It’s time he looks for ways to improve the economy that lift everyone up rather than handouts to corporate interests.”
The Justice for New Brunswick Workers lobbying document can be found here: https://frontnb.ca/press-release-common-front-launches-lobbying-campaign-for-justice-for-workers/