Laid off workers face wage cuts, precarious work, CAW study finds

TORONTO, July 12, 2012 /CNW/ - A groundbreaking study tracking a group of laid off workers in Ontario shows that they continue to struggle to find decent jobs amidst the turmoil of the current labour market.

The final phase of the CAW's Worker Adjustment Tracking Study released earlier today shows that many laid off workers are forced into lower quality and more precarious jobs (including temp agency work), with a significant reduction in pay following the loss of good full-time employment.

"This study provides pretty clear evidence to contradict the notion that all jobs are created equal," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"There's a problem in our economy when the jobs being created don't provide stability, when they fuel insecurity and when they make people less healthy. This is exactly the track we're heading down and there are huge negative implications for Canadians as a result," Lewenza said.

The study, which is the first of its kind in Ontario, tracks the long term experiences of 260 workers laid-off from three manufacturing plants. The plants are Collins & Aikman in Scarborough, which closed in October, 2007; Kitchener Frame in Kitchener, which closed in April 2009 and the elimination of the third shift of Chrysler's Brampton assembly plant in March 2008.

While the majority of workers from Collins & Aikman and Kitchener Frame are currently working, most are earning significantly lower wages and incomes, fewer or no benefits with greater income and employment instability. A majority of workers from these locations have experienced wage reductions of 20 per cent or more. Although most workers participating from the Chrysler location have returned to their jobs, a majority express concern over their long term job security.

The study also found that workplace action centres continue to be a useful point of contact and support for laid off workers. The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities sponsored action centers deliver services and interventions that both enhance re-employment prospects and support laid-off workers and their families during a difficult period of transition.

Workers reporting high use of action centre services are overall the most likely to report a more positive adjustment to the impact of job loss.

"What's clear from these study results is that hands-on transitional supports, like workplace actions centres, increase the chances of job market success," Lewenza said.

"When workers have one-on-one job search and retraining supports, they do better. If they're left to fend for themselves, they're worse off. If policy-makers can take something away from these results today, it's that adjustment services are a vital lifeline for workers and have to be kept up."

Other study highlights include:

  • Over 1 in 5 reported being without income for longer than one year;
  • 31% reported their general health has deteriorated as a result of layoff;
  • 48% reported they had done without something they needed in order to pay the rent or mortgage;
  • Employment and job characteristics for most workers are poorer than in their previous jobs;
  • Nearly 60% of those who completed job retraining programs found related employment.

The CAW released the initial phase of this study on June 7, 2010. The second phase of the study, titled Finding Their Way, Second Round Report of the CAW Workers Adjustment Tracking Report, was written by Sam Vrankulj of the McMaster University School of Labour Studies.

To read the complete report, please visit: www.caw.ca/en

SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

For further information:

CAW Communications, Angelo DiCaro, 416-606-6311 or CAW National Representative Cammie Peirce, cell, 905-866-8146

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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