Service workers see average wages rise paltry 59 cents during the pandemic, less than a bag of potatoes has gone up
Sales and service workers have seen wages rise only 59 cents on average – less than price a bag of potatoes has gone up – since the pandemic struck. There are still nearly 300,000 more unemployed than in February 2020 and another million are employed but working fewer than half their usual hours.
“Under the last Conservative government, precarious work swelled while job quality decreased,” said Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Government has a role to play in making sure new jobs are decent ones, but that won’t happen under Mr. O’Toole’s policies, which appear to be written for him by large corporations.”
Bruske pointed out that inequalities laid bare by the pandemic are now reasserting themselves, as low-paid workers in precarious work struggle to boost hours and keep up with rising prices. 1 in 5 workers in Canada – 1 in 4 women workers – are officially low-paid, one of the highest proportions in the OECD.
“As working families struggle, Mr. O’Toole offers kind words but hostile policies that would mean lower wages, fewer benefits, and more precarious work,” said Bea Bruske, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Mr. O’Toole’s plan fails to address the real economic challenges facing families. He is just another Conservative who will help companies keep wages low while denying workers the help they need.”
Bruske said that a real workers’ agenda would include raising the minimum wage; fair scheduling laws; increasing EI and paid sick leave; opening employment standards to gig economy workers; outlawing pay discrimination against part-time employees; and strengthening workers’ voices by providing a path to unionization.