You are here

Increased protection needed for temporary workers

Unifor calls for increased protection for temp agency staff and all workers employed in precarious positions that offer low paying part-time jobs, or contract-to-contract positions, without benefits or security.

“The Wynne government can end the predatory employment practices that go hand-in-hand with precarious employment,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “The April 27 budget and the upcoming Changing Workplaces Review both provide opportunity for action.”

Unifor supports today’s motion by NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh, calling on the government to require employers to provide temporary workers with pay, benefits and working conditions equal to permanent employees doing comparable work. Temporary staff would also be made permanent employees after working a total of six months for the same company.

“The status of ‘perma-temp’ must be ended,” said Rizvi. “It’s key that the language regarding any rule change is tied to cumulative time with an employer, to prevent companies from shuffling workers like a deck of cards at the six-month mark to avoid permanent hires.”

The National President of Unifor noted that the Ontario government has an opportunity here to do the right thing for the most vulnerable workers by passing this motion and putting forward changes in the upcoming budget. “Temp agencies not only benefit from, but also drive predatory employment practices that target immigrants and women of colour disproportionately. This is why labour reform and stronger employment standards are urgently needed in Ontario,” said Jerry Dias.

In a recent community forum Unifor’s East Danforth Community Chapter, representing South Asian women working in temporary staffing agencies in Toronto, raised concerns about temporary workers being taken advantage of, with agencies paying less than minimum wage and failing to pay full hours or holiday pay.

A second NDP motion, also submitted today, by MPP Cheri DiNovo would help address the urgent issue of women’s inequality. Unifor offered support to call upon the government to incorporate an intersectional gender lens into its upcoming budget.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).