Today is Labour Day!
I pause and acknowledge the persistent and dedicated effort of workers and their union advocates to lobby and secure a better quality of life and working conditions.
In the struggle for workers’ rights there have been many important victories. These include a limit to the number of hours allowed to be worked in a day or week, better health and safety standards and fair wages. There is a long list of improvements to working conditions that have been won by labour organizers in the past and I’m thankful they continue their effort to ensure workers have a safer, more secure, balanced and enjoyable life.
The relationships between the worker and employer continue to evolve. The struggle of the 21st century worker mirrors the struggle of the 20th, 19th, and the centuries preceding. It’s about how we relate to each other, how we treat each other and how we look after each other.
In the opening decades of the 21st century, we have seen remarkable changes in our economy, incredible disruption in the workforce through the automation of the mechanization from the previous century’s advances. The result is further displacement of human labour creating greater need and disparity between social classes.
We have had wide swings in labour policy in British Columbia over the years. For the benefit of people, the environment and the economy we need to stabilize the policy lurches that we’ve experienced.
I hope that our collective response to the disruption will be to create supportive social, environmental and economic policy. I’m deeply hopeful that this response will usher in an era of kindness, compassion and cooperation. We have the opportunity to create a more equitable and just society so that together we will be better equipped to overcome even greater challenges that we face, like climate change.