Laid-off workers face wage cuts: CAW study

1 in 5 without income for more than 1 year

Many laid-off workers are forced into lower quality and more precarious jobs, with a significant reduction in pay following the loss of good full-time employment, found a recent study by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).

"There's a problem in our economy when the jobs being created don't provide stability, when they fuel insecurity and when they make people less healthy. This is exactly the track we're heading down and there are huge negative implications for Canadians as a result," said CAW president Ken Lewenza.

The Worker Adjustment Tracking Study tracks the long-term experiences of 260 workers laid-off from three manufacturing plants: Collins & Aikman in Scarborough, Ont., which closed in October, 2007; Kitchener Frame in Kitchener Ont., which closed in April 2009; and the elimination of the third shift of Chrysler's Brampton, Ont., assembly plant in March 2008.

While the majority of workers from Collins & Aikman and Kitchener Frame are currently working, most are earning significantly lower wages and incomes, fewer or no benefits with greater income and employment instability. A majority of workers from these locations have experienced wage reductions of 20 per cent or more, found the study.

Although most workers participating from the Chrysler location have returned to their jobs, a majority express concern over their long-term job security.

Other study highlights include:

•One in five respondents reported being without income for longer than one year.

•Thirty-one per cent reported their general health has deteriorated as a result of layoff.

•Forty-eight per cent reported they had done without something they needed in order to pay the rent or mortgage.

Nearly 60 per cent of those who completed job retraining programs found related employment.

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