Solidarity statement for Toronto Cleaners and Janitors
November 10, 2015
Toronto, ON—SIKLAB Ontario (Advance and Uphold the Struggles of Filipino Canadian Workers) and the member organizations of the Magkaisa (Unity) Centre extend our solidarity to the Toronto cleaners and janitors, and their allies, in protest against exploitative working conditions and oppressive labour practices. As part of the ongoing Justice for Janitors campaign jointly organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2, the cleaners and janitors have been in an attempt to form a union because of issues ranging from unpaid wages, job security and abusive misconduct of their employers.
The men and women working in various downtown buildings along Bay St., owned by Dream Office REIT, have filed numerous legal complaints against the hiring contractors Amphora Maintenance Ltd. and Impact Cleaning Services, and its subcontractor MCC Inc. The previous contractors, Impact Cleaning Services and MCC Inc., refused to pay the provincial minimum wage and now face 9 complaints under the Ministry of Labour for lost wages amounting to $18,000 and vacation entitlements over a 12-month period. Upon taking over since early October, Amphora Maintenance Ltd. refused to retain 12 employees with a combined service of sixty years, all of who were trying to form a union. Amphora currently owes over $25,000 in termination and severance pay.
As a progressive workers advocacy group, We understand such practices as part of neoliberal schemes where workers’ precarity and instability are the mainstay strategies of employers and companies to keep employees highly manageable and controlled while maximizing profitability off of their cheapened and devalued labour. The same parallel practices can be said with racialized workers mostly coming from the global south through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), who are funnelled into low-wage, back-breaking and often times dangerous jobs. As the Canadian state continue to facilitate such “revolving door” policies in immigration and labour of keeping workers temporary and disposable, the threat of such neoliberal policies cut with a double-edge blade affecting workers under the TFWP and domestic workers alike by enlarging the pool of a cheapened, desperate and vulnerable labour force.
SIKLAB Ontario and the member organizations of the Magkaisa Centre stand in solidarity with the downtown Toronto cleaners and Janitors in their fight against job contractualization and flexibilization. On this important juncture, we assert that the cleaners and janitors rights to meaningful and secure livelihoods, the right to work in healthy and safe working environments, and to work under sustainable labour practices with benefits and entitlements, and to form a workers union to be recognized and upheld! Advance the working class struggle of workers in Canada!
Job security for all!
End the contractualization and flexibilization of labour!
Justice for cleaners and janitors!
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 of Ontario