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Montreal – February 27, 2013 – Several thousands of demonstrators took to the streets throughout Quebec on February 23rd to protest against the new employment insurance reforms imposed by the Harper government. From Montreal to Sept-Îles, to Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke and Rimouski, numerous UFCW Canada members in Quebec gathered and added their voices to those of various groups that were speaking out about the plundering of the employment insurance system. Organized by the construction arm of the FTQ, these simultaneous protests mobilized over 15 000 participants across the province in the wake of public discontent with a government that unilaterally dictates its own rules.
“The conservative government makes it clear that it doesn’t care at all about workers’ rights and their well-being. We must remind Harper and his collaborators that the money in the employment insurance fund comes from worker and employer contributions in order to deal with the fluctuations of precarious work and those caused, often in outlying regions, by a faltering economy. Obviously, this government does not understand the purpose of the program and is looking to perpetuate the tradition of Canadian governments that seize the hard-earned money of workers who are not fortunate enough to have a full-time job or who have suffered a loss of employment,” explains Louis Bolduc, Executive Assistant to the UFCW Canada National President.
Remember that the changes to the employment insurance program were rammed down the throats of the workers by the Harper government through the Omnibus Bill C-38 last June. The new provisions will make EI contributors with precarious jobs financially worse off since it will force family wage earners to accept any type of work outside their area of experience, within a 100 km radius of their home and at a rate equivalent to 70% of their previous wage.