Workers in Nova Scotia need more protection when employers declare bankruptcy
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour Danny Cavanagh says it’s a sad day for 600 workers in Sydney who lost their jobs yesterday after call centre ServiCom declared bankruptcy and closed.
“This province to do more to protect workers from wage theft, and more to protect workers when companies declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws do not protect workers’ pensions and benefits, or their wages owed and we are calling on our government to fix bankruptcy laws and put money owed to workers ahead of shareholders, banks, and creditors when they file for bankruptcy protection. Under the law when workers are owed money such as pay and severance the employer has obligations and those obligations need to be upheld,” says Cavanagh.
Our Federation of Labour will be there to support these workers in any way we can, as unions will always fight for the rights of all workers in Nova Scotia, whether they are organized or not.
“The province must step in with a fiscal stimulus package to start creating jobs in Cape Breton and around the region. 600 jobs gone at ServiCom and 14 other jobs moving to Halifax due to the shutdown of the Saltwire Press in Sydney are only adding to the unemployment problem in Cape Breton,” says Cavanagh.
Cavanagh says may we need a similar law such as the Federal Wage Earner Protection Program Act which allows expedited payment of wages and benefits owed to workers whose employer has entered bankruptcy or receivership proceedings. Under the federal program, if your employment has ended, and your former employer has filed for bankruptcy or is subject to receivership and you are owed wages, vacation pay, termination or severance pay from the previous employer, you get at least some of the monies owed. Cavanagh says that at least would be a start often have we seen workers thrown into the streets without any protection.
The Federation of Labour is planning to collect donations for the 600 workers who were not only laid off, they are owed 3 weeks pay with three weeks to go before Christmas. The concern is these workers will have no pay or ability to access EI benefits before Christmas, and as a community, we want to ensure that these workers can enjoy the Holidays.