May 1st, 2018

International Workers' Day: let’s build a modern economy that benefits everyone

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh made the following statement:

“Everywhere around the world today, people are paying tribute to the legacy of the workers' movement, as we keep an eye on future struggles we will face together.

On this International Workers’ Day, New Democrats in Canada are standing up and fighting for an economy where everyone benefits. We also celebrate our brothers and sisters in the labour movement, and their drive to propel this vision forward.

While the wealthy and well-connected avoid paying their fair share through tax havens and fiscal evasion, this elite also works behind closed doors to deregulate labour codes, stop wage increases and attack workers’ rights. All under the guise of modernizing our economy.

But there is a better way to modernize our economy.

People should be able to make a living, have dreams, support their families and retire in dignity. But precarious employment means that people’s realities are very different. This is especially true for young people: too many go to work in the morning not knowing if they will have a job to go to the next day. This kind of insecurity is not right.

There is nothing modern about this vision. It is a step backwards, toward a past that no worker wishes to see repeated.

Creating precarious work was not enough for the elite, now they want to add insecurity to people’s retirements.

We saw this during the Sears bankruptcy proceedings. Instead of first paying the workers who gave everything to this company for decades, Sears decided to first give bonuses to its managers and reimburse major banks. This is outrageous, but current law allows this to happen. Governments must take action to protect workers’ pensions.

Balancing work, family responsibilities and studies is still a challenge for thousands of families and students. In this digital age, the right to be disconnected once you arrive home needs to be recognized.

Every day, workers are being threatened and the government sits on its hands and lets this happen. New Democrats will continue to fight for better labour regulations, healthy work environments and the right to retire in dignity.

It’s time to build a modern economy that benefits everyone.