Royal Bank of Canada is in damage control over itsattack on its workers using the Tories’ recent cynical changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program. RBC has moved to replace 45 of it Canadian workforce with workers from India. RBC has even admitted to talking to the federal governmentbefore the move in their interview with CBC. This kind of move by a company that over $7 billion in profit last year is more than outrageous, it is an attack on every worker in Canada. This is exactly why the TFW and Employment Insurance changes were brought in: to drive wages down here in Canada.
For their part, unions have responded to protect the workers as part of their political campaigns against the regressive changes to the TFW program. The Steelworkers’ union has offered assistance:
“We are adamantly opposed to a policy that seeks to undermine our Canadian standard of living while continuing to expose new arrivals to our shores with a new form of exploitation since the ability of temporary workers to remain in Canada is tied almost completely to one employer and with no reasonable avenue to citizenship,” said Neumann, , National Director of the United Steelworkers (USW).
This attack on workers rights through the Temporary Foreign Workers programs is in keeping with recent actions of the federal and provincial Conservatives like Bill C-377, the attacks on Rand and union security, the ability of worker unions to be politically active and changes to Employment Insurance. All these changes have lead to an undermining of workers’ rights and their union’s ability to fight against laws that undermine wages, jobs and the interests of working Canadians.
The labour movement and the Left more generally must unite and act in solidarity with all workers that are feeling the pressure of the financial elite. One such move would be to support the unionisation of workers in the financial sector.
If monopoly finance capital like RBC are supporting the Tories in their war against the working people of Canada, then it only makes sense that they be the starting focus of the broad response.
We must act in solidarity with the RBC workers and the actions of the Steelworkers (and other unions) to protect the rights of all workers.