The World Day for Decent Work, October 7, annually upholds that good, decent jobs are the key to strengthening families and building an economy that puts people first. Decent work is pretty straight ahead: a job in a workplace that is safe, provides a fair and liveable income, is non-discriminatory, and is respectful of workers' rights to unionize without reprisal.
While decent work and a social safety net should be the foundations of our communities, it's a notion that seems to be lost on many of our leaders who are more committed to indecent profits for the corporate sector. Here in Canada the Harper government continues to slash the corporate tax rate to companies that already sit on billions in cash — yet have no interest in creating jobs —while millions of Canadians remain unemployed because the corporate sector is only interested in Canadians as consumers but not as workers.
In the name of "efficiency", decent work and collective bargaining have been under attack by right-wing governments and the corporate lobby. They argue that the economy can no longer afford to pay workers a fair wage and benefits. But the reality is actually the opposite. Decent work creates stability, taxable income, and enough left over that families can actually build up their savings instead of using credit to pay for necessities.
Decent work is not just some utopian idea. It is what built the Canadian economy and historically provided it good revenues (through taxes on income) to pay for healthcare, education, and other vital social services. So where has that revenue now gone? To corporations with a hoard of cash built up by pressing down wages, or by eliminating jobs altogether.
On October 7, and at every election, we must send a message that decent work — not cash in a corporate treasury — is the foundation of a decent life and a strong and equitable Canada.