Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Corporate Conscience?

What ever became of Sundays?  The former "day of rest" and family get-together is being destroyed by big business. Employees of banks, supermarkets and big box stores are forced to work on Sundays, and at the same pay as for week days. If the worker does not like that, the employer points to the lines of unemployed knocking at the door, people who would take jobs on any terms the boss dictates. Big business thrives on big unemployment. It thrives on rendering voiceless employees wanting to present a united front against exploitive conditions. It allows corporate bosses to play off one element of society against the other, with the result we are all losers, except the short-term gain by shareholders and bonuses for the bosses.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 people currently work unpaid in some of our largest and wealthiest corporations. The Toronto Star reports on the exploitation of interns (Interns decry all work and no pay, March 3, 2014). The article tells of university graduates working at no pay for a variety of companies such as a Toronto-based think-tank, certain marketing companies, the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver, Bell Canada and untold others.

The interns are warned that if they refuse unpaid work including overtime of up to 60 hours a week, they will not get a reference. This blackmail works. Corporations get labour at no cost, all in the guise of giving young people business experience. They render benefit to the company, a benefit that deserves pay, including benefits.

Anyone who deposits food in the collection bins in the the big box stores is, in effect, subsidizing the store. Low salaries force their staff to frequent food banks, to retrieve the food purchased from their employer who has made a profit from its sale.

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