Council Delegates Call for Stronger Severance Protections

December 7, 2009, 3:59 PM EST

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Over 700 delegates voted unanimously in support of a resolution calling for the establishment of provincial and federal funds to pay outstanding monies owed to workers in the case of an employer bankruptcy, including severance and termination pay.

Delegates from across the country spoke in favour of continuing a national campaign for stronger severance protections for all workers both federally and provincially.

With hundreds of thousands of Canadians having lost their jobs over the past years, there is a growing uneasiness among workers that government will not step in to enforce laws protecting workers right to severance pay, said Jerry Dias, Assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"Unless governments take a principled stand to protect the unpaid wages workers are entitled to under law, more and more Canadians will face the double shock of unemployment and no financial safety net," Dias said.

CAW Local 195 President Gerry Farnham, who represents former Aradco and Aramco auto parts workers in Windsor, Ontario, stressed the important role the union has played in ensuring workers receive at least some of the outstanding monies they are owed in the face of employer insolvencies.

"At the end of the day, without unions fighting on behalf of these workers and demonstrating for their rights in the workplace, they most certainly would be left with nothing," Farnham said. "Our fight is far from over."

Aradco and Aramco workers in Windsor, still owed $2.5 million in unpaid severance, termination and unpaid wages from employer Catalina Precision Products, held a series of public demonstrations in November demanding the company pay the remainder of their severance entitlements.  

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