For immediate release
May 2, 2013
Toronto, ON—SIKLAB Ontario (Advance and Uphold the Struggles of Filipino Canadian Workers) and the member organizations of the Magkaisa Centre commend the strength and courage of the janitorial and maintenance workers in Halifax, Nova Scotia in speaking out and standing up against the unscrupulous practices held by their employer, Mantolino Property Services, Ltd. This is an achievement that affects not only the workers immediately involved in the case, but the thousands of other workers as well who continue to be underpaid, overworked and highly vulnerable to various forms of exploitation and oppression under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). As labour becomes more and more flexible, contractual and disposable under neoliberal globalization, this also represents an important victory for all workers in Canada
SIKLAB Ontario, together with its sister organizations, extend a message of solidarity to the workers in their triumph to stay in Canada after facing the threat of deportation while their employer remains under investigation.
Mantolino has contracts to provide janitorial and cleaning services to 13 municipal buildings, including Halifax City Hall and the Mayoral office. The company charged employees, mostly from the Philippines, thousands of dollars for the contractual positions as well as the processing fees for their immigration papers. Once in Canada, the workers were sub-contracted to Jani-King of Nova Scotia and scheduled hours were much longer than stipulated—estimated at an average of 100 hours within a two-week period. Employees, who were paid well below the minimum wage at 7 dollars per hour, were also paying into rent to live at a company-owned building.
These undeniably exploitative conditions still remain common and wide-spread, as workers, especially transnational workers, find themselves relegated into a source of cheap labour, to be disposed of with impunity. “Working people contribute to the economy and form the foundation of Canada’s social fabric. All workers, regardless of immigration status, deserve to have the right to permanence and security,” says Jean-Marc Daga, a member of SIKLAB Ontario. “And it is in this respect that we continue to uphold workers’ rights and help advance the working class struggle here in Canada.”
Scrap the Temporary Foreign Workers Program!
Permanent settlement through genuine immigration now!
End the contractualization of labour!
Expose and oppose neoliberal globalization!
Organizations under the Magkaisa Centre:
SIKLAB Ontario (Advance and Uphold the Struggles of Filipino Canadian Workers)
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance—Ontario