Cutting EI premiums won't do the job: Unifor


TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Stephen Harper's expected announcement today that the Conservative government will be cutting EI premiums is not what the economy needs, not what the labour market needs and not what workers in Canada need, says Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

"With only 36% of unemployed people in Canada eligible for EI, our focus should be on increasing access to benefits," said Dias. "Increasing access to EI benefits would mean unemployed workers could better support their families. And let's face it, unemployed people are spending every cent they have in the local economy, not hoarding it like business often does."

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada released job numbers indicating that the Canadian economy is continuing to lose jobs, particularly good, full-time jobs. Business groups argue that cutting the EI premiums will stimulate job creation.

"If Stephen Harper is serious about job creation then he needs to work with labour and business to develop plans that will reinvigorate industry and stimulate the economy in meaningful ways," said Dias.

"It is ridiculous that the Conservative government's strategy to create jobs is essentially being done on the backs of unemployed workers in Canada. That's hardly the leadership we need to solve this problem," said Dias.

Next month, Unifor will host a national Good Jobs Summit in Toronto.

The goal of the Summit is to bring together students, workers, government, employers, unions, policy makers, researchers and non-governmental organizations to have a focussed discussion on how we can create good, sustainable jobs in Canada.

"Prime Minister Harper is welcome to attend Unifor's Good Jobs Summit next month," offered Dias. "I expect the solutions that will be discussed at our Summit will have far greater potential to stimulate job growth than this cut to EI premiums."

Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.