Every year, on May 1st, workers around the world honour and are inspired by the activism and the collective power of workers that won an eight-hour workday. It is a day of solidarity and a day to recommit working towards improving the lives of workers.
This pandemic has exposed the fragility of our current social safety net. We entered the pandemic with high rates of poverty, food and housing insecurity, fragile child and long-term care systems and many essential workers struggling to make a decent living, facing poor wages and working conditions.
“Workers are the backbone of our society. Too many New Brunswick workers are earning poverty-level wages, have no job security working in temporary positions or only having part-time hours, and many do not have access to paid-sick days,” says Daniel Legere, President of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, “the New Brunswick Federation of Labour is calling on the New Brunswick government to update its antiquated labour laws. The world of work has changed a lot since they were enacted.”
COVID-19 has also exposed the fragility of the public sector that resulted from years of privatization and under-investment in public services. Public servants have stepped up during this pandemic, maintaining public services even in the most challenging of times.
“Government must fix the years of underfunding and cuts that have eroded the public programs and supports that many in our population desperately need,” says Daniel Legere. “Government can start by acting on the ideas brought forward by public sector workers to improve services. It can also maintain control of our public services and not offload them to the private sector. Finally, now is the time to be making significant investments in the public services to fix all the cracks and gaps that are now apparent for all to see.”
The New Brunswick Federation of Labour (NBFL) is the central voice of organized labour in the province, representing more than 38,000 public and private sector workers from every sector of the economy and from every community in the province.