Unemployment

Publisher:  Nova Scotia Labour Research and Support Centre, Canada
Year Published:  1977  
Pages:  4pp   Price:  Free  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX487

This broadsheet examines the crucial unemployment situation in Nova Scotia and outlines attempts by the unemployed in union with working people to confront this problem.

Abstract:  This broadsheet examines the crucial unemployment situation in Nova Scotia and outlines attempts by the unemployed in union with working people to confront this problem. As the province prepares for its worst economic winter in forty years, it is estimated that over twenty percent of the working population (60,000 workers) are unemployed. The broadsheet contains personal accounts of those who are unable to find work, particularly students.

One article analyzes the roots and the effects of the boom and bust cycles which have recurred throughout this century in Canada; these cycles are seen as characteristic of the profit system wherein the worker becomes the inevitable victim. The prosperous overproductive sixties ended in a recessionary cycle and recovery is not immediately in sight. This article suggests that the government does virtually nothing to remedy unemployment and indeed often encourages it by its policies. One example is the increasing restrictions around claiming U.I.C. benefits.

Nova Scotia labour and unemployed are responding to this situation by organizing, exposing the problem and fighting for solutions. Throughout the summer of 1977 the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour and some local labour councils formed coalitions and published a series of statements outlining the issue and proposing solutions. The Cape Breton Committee of Concern for the Unemployed has emerged as the most active of these coalitions, carrying out demonstrations and occupations of government buildings.

One of the chief concerns of the coalitions is government accountability. Although they have been rebuffed by Privy Council President McEachen and Premier Regan, the coalition continues to produce statements critical of government programs "which barely scratch the surface." The coalitions' proposals include: 1) increased government assistance benefits, 2) higher minimum wage levels, 3) new housing programs 4) more efficient processing and use of the province's natural resources 5) an Inventory Support Programme - manufactured goods such as rail cars, lumber and paper could be produced as usual during bad economic times, then stored to be sold when markets improve.

The coalitions feel that such programmes, implemented within sound economic planning, with federal assistance for basic services, including housing and various modes of transportation, could lead toward overcoming the unemployment crisis.

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