Did you catch the latest employment news this week for Canada? Loblaw’s is laying off 500 Office workers but no worries since Loblaw’s intends to hire even more workers in the coming year than it is laying off today – yeah, really. CBC
Loblaw Companies Ltd. has begun laying off 500 people from offices across the country, even as the company says it plans to add jobs later this year."As part of a broad cost-control effort we have begun eliminating corporate office roles, including various executives, members of management and colleagues at all levels," spokesperson Kevin Groh said in a statement, adding that the move will have "no effect on hourly store jobs." …"We will continue to invest and we will be a net job creator again this year," Groh said.
What annoys me is how those who are opponents of raising the minimum wage in Ontario use this type of corporate action to beat supporters who favour the coming rise in minimum wages, but it’s a twig and not a cudgel. These were office workers and not minimum wage retail workers; they have skills and experience and probably make well over the minimum wage and who were received benefits and corporate pensions contributions.
And ironically, no one has questioned Loblaw’s - as to how it is possible to be a ‘net job creator’ (for this year no less) – if they are laying off 500 skilled and experienced employees in the here and now. In the past, when you saw thousands or hundreds of workers laid off you saw a company that was significantly downgrading their operations but Loblaw’s isn’t doing that. No one keeps 500 superfluous office workers hanging around without work – well, all except Loblaw’s - if they are to be believed. If I was a young and hungry litigator starting out I would be using social media to reach out to many of those laid off workers who were in striking distance of ‘retirement’ age. But I digress.
On the face of it, the Loblaw’s announcement defies logic.
That is, unless you take a detailed look at current Canadian corporate employment strategy. Offshore as much of your operation to overseas workers and for those positions which cannot be off-shored; hire local contract temporary workers from a temporary agency. In fact, it is far cheaper to hire contract temporary workers and pay an agency fee than to hire permanent workers. Companies have no holiday pay, benefits or pension benefits to pay out with contract temporary workers and there are no time limits beyond the ‘contract’ period which can be renewed indefinitely and at the same rate. Also, it is the temporary agency which assumes the majority of liability for workman’s compensation should a claim arise – a not so inconsiderable cost saving.
It’s win-win for situation for all corporate companies operating in Canada, and they are all doing it. From manufacturing to fisheries, to insurance and banking, communication companies to grocers. Our labour laws are so woefully out of date to protect Canadian workers from our homegrown Crony capitalists who literally do nothing but lay awake at night coming up with new ways to game the system.
And if you think anyone in the professional political class will protect you one day from the widespread corporate exploitation of Canadian workers, think again. The Conservative party is the party of Crony Capitalism, and has fine tuned crafting laws to help ease off-shoring and the rise of temporary agencies. The Greens are too busy policing what is in your garbage can and what light bulbs you use. The NDP is too busy fighting the last millennium issues or promoting ‘open borders’ and economic rights of migrants regardless of how it depresses wages for millions of ordinary working class Canadians. And the Liberals, well Moneybags Morneau even went so far as to warn young workers to get use to the new ‘reality’.
Welcome to the new Feudal age.