London Unemployment Rate Prompts Emergency Summit on Jobs

August 17, 2011, 2:45 PM EST

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The CAW is urging a regional industrial strategy as well as policies to develop good jobs with stability and decent working conditions as keys to lowering the startling 9.1 per cent unemployment rate in the London, Ontario area.

CAW Local 27 President Tim Carrie stressed that the trend toward more precarious temp agency work, part-time, temporary and casual jobs is damaging not only to local workers and their families, but the entire economy.

"We need to create good jobs with stability and strong benefits that mean workers earn enough to pay a mortgage, help their children get a post-secondary education and which allow workers to retire with dignity and some financial security after a life time of work," said Carrie. "We need to develop local policies that promote these good jobs so that we can build a stronger economy."

In July the official unemployment rate for the London, Ontario area hit 9.1 per cent, a national high among large urban centres. This prompted city council to call an Emergency Summit on Jobs, attended by local politicians, business and labour officials.

Carrie said while the Emergency Summit was a good first step, the creation of a Labour Market Taskforce is needed for the long term. He's strongly urging London Mayor Joe Fontana to move ahead with support for such a taskforce.

CAW Local 1520 President Dennis McGee said the impending closure of the Ford St. Thomas plant and the closure of the Lear Seating facility will have a huge impact on the local economy.

"The Ford plant and the various feeder plants supporting it have provided good jobs for thousands of workers over many decades. We need to develop industrial strategies that will replace these manufacturing jobs and create good work opportunities for local residents."

"In the meantime both the federal and provincial governments need to expand tuition and income supports for workers who are retraining after losing their jobs through no fault of their own," McGee said. "In addition they need to extend EI benefits and provide extra supports for older workers," he said.

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