Emergency Measures for Laid Off Workers

December 10, 2008, 3:27 PM EST

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The current economic crisis means hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers have lost their jobs and that hundreds of thousands of more lost jobs will follow. The CAW is calling for a 10 point Emergency Measures plan for laid off workers.

The job loss crisis confined largely to manufacturing, up to now, is becoming economy wide, as the fall out from bursting speculative bubbles, spreads to sectors as diverse as construction, retail, resources and hospitality.

Workers who are forced out of jobs are clearly not at fault and need emergency relief from both the federal and provincial governments, Council delegates heard.

Over the short term, emergency measures are needed to protect workers who are losing their jobs, incomes, pensions and homes. Sustained income support and a renewed Employment Insurance system in which workers qualify more easily and are entitled to longer periods of support at higher benefit levels.

"Over the last decade or so, successive federal government have used billions of dollars of revenue from EI premiums for all sorts of different initiatives, from the funding of programs to deficit reduction," a CAW statement on the crisis reads. "In this crisis the government needs to put more unemployment insurance money back into the pockets of laid off workers."

Here are the 10 points:

-         extended EI and other income support;

-         better severance pay provisions;

-         enhance income protection in bankruptcies and insolvencies

-         foreclosure protection against falling prices

-         labour laws that require employers to negotiate and fund adjustment programs for laid off workers;

-         provincial government to introduce and/or expand adjustment programs including funding for Action Centres staffed with co-workers;

-         access and support for training;

-         pension protection;

-         benefit protection;

-         public notice and justification of closures and lay-offs.

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