As the deadline looms for a legal strike by LCBO workers on Friday, May 17, 2013, the contentious issue is not about money, but fair and stable work. As we have recently seen with the banking industry and how they try to minimize their costs and maximize their revenues by contracting work out to countries like India, the LCBO seems to have taken a different approach by reclassifying work titles in order to pay less and deny benefits.
According to the LCBO’s Quick Fact sheet on their website, there are over 7000 workers with 3680 full-time and 3823 casual workers. The definition of casual workers are people who are hired for a specified period of time that may not exceed 90 days in one calendar year. They have no guaranteed hours per day or days or work per week and are called in whenever they are needed. Usually these workers are brought in to fulfill an urgent need that is unexpected and although they may decline the work, but with jobs harder to find many are taking whatever they can get.
This practice by the LCBO and other companies will lead to a decline in work life balance and more social ills as people do not have a viable means to security of job. The travel costs to go to casual job can eat up your pay easily and in the long term will be abandoned by many. Social assistance costs will go up and the possibility of some venturing into into criminal behavior and lifestyle become more alluring.
The LCBO will parrot the line that other companies are doing it and they, like any other employers, want to balance their ability to deal with rising costs while providing jobs. While this might sound true, there is a real movement to cut costs through job title reclassification, not because the work is not there, but mainly to save money.
We already have a hard time believing the banking industry, especially with the recent debacle from RBC and their temporary foreign worker hiring practices at the expense of ordinary Canadians, but the LCBO who made billions in profits can surely afford to hire more workers with stable work schedule.
If the LCBO were not a crown corporation with certain protection from competition, we might look the other way, but being agent of the government we expect more from them.