May 25, 2012
The Maquila Solidarity Network congratulates the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC), based in Toronto, Canada, on an important victory in its campaign against wage theft. WAC’s campaign has stopped the Ontario provincial government from making severe cuts in inspections and enforcement of employment standards regulations in the province.
Upon learning of the government’s plan to cut back on enforcement, WAC mobilized widespread public opposition to the cuts and support for increased funding. For three months, WAC members and supporters visited politicians, convinced other organizations to endorse their demands, and flooded politicians’ offices with postcards and emails.
The result? $5.5 million saved from the chopping block and, even better, an increase of $3 million this year, and another $2.5 million next year, for proactive enforcement of employment standards regulations. The government has also committed to work with WAC and other community partners to develop a plan on how the money should best be used.
The problem of wage theft – failure by employers to pay legal wages owing and wrongly treating workers as independent contractors or self-employed – is a global problem. As MSN takes part in international campaigns to tackle the growing problem of precarious work and poverty wages, WAC and other activist organizations in Canada are tackling the same issues at the local and provincial level.