Conservatives must back track on Employment Insurance changes

OTTAWA, Feb. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Changes to Employment Insurance (EI) affecting thousands of seasonal workers and their communities must be overturned, says the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP). Further to the harmful changes, the government began making unannounced house visits to EI recipients this week.

"The Conservative government is actively going after vulnerable Canadians and that is absolutely not acceptable," said Dave Coles, CEP National President. "These changes keep low-income families in poverty and allow the rich to get richer, which is not surprising from this government but still unacceptable."

Changes to EI forcing unemployed workers to accept jobs at a lower pay came into effect on January 1st, 2013 and have the most effect on regions that are dependent on seasonal employment. Demonstrations have been held in many communities in the Maritimes and in Québec to oppose the changes that were adopted in Bill C-38, the first Conservative government's omnibus budget implementation bill.

"Where is Stephen Harper's good jobs strategy? All Canadians, employed or unemployed, need the government to take the question of jobs seriously and to create good, stable employment in every region of the country," added Coles. "Workers all contribute to the EI system and we won't let the government destroy what we have built and funded out of our own pocket just so the Conservatives can punish the unemployed."

CEP will be participating in this Sunday's EI rallies organized by the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ).

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada is the largest union in several key sectors of Canada's economy, including forestry, energy, telecommunications and media. The union's 120,000 members work at a wide variety of jobs in hundreds of different workplaces across the country.

SOURCE: COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

Dave Coles, National President, dcoles@cep.ca, cell: (613) 299-5628

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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