WORKERS CELEBRATE LABOUR DAY AS CUTS IN JOBS AND SERVICES CLOUD THE LABOUR HORIZON
NUJP-CANADA in solidarity with the working class movement
By Edwin C. Mercurio
A sea of colours dominated this year’s Labour Day Parade in Toronto as workers and labour unions from across the province marched from University Avenue to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds (CNE). As marchers celebrate Labour Day and sway to the beat of rock, reggae and the popular union song “Solidarity Forever, “ sombre thoughts occupy the minds of organized labour and Ontario’s working class as impending cuts in the public service jobs, youth unemployment , uncertain future and layoffs cloud the labour horizons.
For many in the parade, the march is to honour the late NDP leader Jack Layton who was seen as a “a great champion of the working people” and whose last words ” Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So, let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic,” were proudly carried by marchers young and old on the streets of downtown Toronto.
For those in the public service, Labour Day is a chance for workers to show their solidarity in the campaign to bring to the public focus the effects of these job cuts as Ontarians go to the polls to cast their votes in the coming October 6 provincial election.
Vital public service job cuts were announced by Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty this summer. Thousands of municipal workers were recently also given layoff notices by the City of Toronto.
Union leaders also warned that more job cuts are in the works if the Liberals are re-elected. There are also warnings that if elected, Conservative Leader Tim Hudak will cut even more jobs and privatize services. Both Liberals and Conservatives aim to contract out or privatize services according to sources from the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU).
Statistics Canada official figures show that private companies in Canada are sitting on $471 billion in cash, excluding the profits held by banks. While more public service job are eliminated and service cuts are planned, the McGuinty government is giving away $2.4 billion a year in tax cuts to profitable corporations. Conservative leader Tim Hudak “will do the same if he becomes Premier,” warns OPSEU.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines – Canada Local (NUJP-Canada) joined the Labour Day march to show solidarity with Ontario’s labour unions and strengthen ties with the working class movement.