Mulcair minimum wage announcement welcome


VANCOUVER, Sept. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Today's announcement by NDP Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair that he would bring back a federal minimum wage, pegging it at $15 an hour, is a welcome move that will push the provinces to increase their rates, Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.

"Too many workers today are forced into low-paid, part-time and precarious jobs. The kind of leadership Mr. Mulcair is showing on this issue will help improve their situation," Dias said.

There has effectively been no federal minimum wage since 1996, when the government of Jean Chretien linked the federal rate to provincial minimum wages. A federal minimum wage would apply to such sectors as banking, telecommunications and broadcasting employing more than 800,000 workers.

Dias praised the hard work and dedication by activist groups and unions across the country to boost minimum wages.

"Unifor is proud to be part of the many coalitions pushing for provincial minimum wage increases across the country. A higher federal minimum wage would put added pressure on the provinces to act," Dias said.

The challenges facing minimum wage workers, often in part time and precarious jobs, will be a major focus of Unifor's Good Jobs Summit, to be held October 3-5 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will speak at the Summit October 4.

The Summit will bring together students, workers, government, employers, unions, policy makers, researchers and non-governmental organizations to discuss how to create meaningful and sustainable jobs.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.