Job satisfaction sinking

KEVIN NEWMAN: Well with so many of us returning to the habit of waking to an alarm clock again, a new survey of Canadian workers on this Labour Day showing that in spite of a booming economy in much of the country, job satisfaction is sinking. Francis Silvaggio is also on his first day back from vacation, so he seemed like the right guy to handle this one.

FRANCIS SILVAGGIO (Reporter): Alberta's economy continues to boom. There's more work, more money, more people. So why are these labour leaders concerned?

GIL MCGOWAN (Alberta Federation of Labour): We've got a growing disparity between people on the top end making a lot of money and people on the bottom end making much less. And it's not just a disparity in wages.

SILVAGGIO: In fact Graham Lowe's research discovered even though Canada's economy has grown over the past 25 year, actual job quality has declined and only about half of us are satisfied with our jobs.

GRAHAM LOWE (Employment Researcher): Because the economy is so strong these days, you might think that there would be benefits for people in terms of improvements in the quality of their workplace. We're not seeing that.

SILVAGGIO: That's no surprise to national labour groups that have seen union memberships fall sharply as well.

SID RYAN (CUPE Ontario President): They're making profits at the expense of the workers is what they're doing, and they're using globalization as the battering ram to force unions and to force employers to, employees to lower their wage demands, open up their collective agreements, give concessions.

SILVAGGIO: As the workforce begins to shift with the retirement of our baby boomers, experts say job quality will be more important than ever to keep our economy growing.

LOWE: By providing people with better quality work environments. Work environment that really encourage them, inspire them to contribute their best, that is going to improve business success. It's also going to make people want to stay with their employer so it's going to reduce turnover. It's going to reduces absenteeism, and absenteeism is trending up in this country, that's a problem. So it's going to have a lot of positive chaos for the economy overall.

SILVAGGIO: Which is why on this Labour Day, labour officials are urging all levels of government to take action.

MCGOWAN: Is this the kind of Canada that we want, that's sort of divided between the haves and have-nots. Shouldn't we be fighting for a stronger middle class Canada that allows everyone to share in the prosperity? That's the challenge for our policymakers.

GLOBAL NATIONAL, Mon Sept 3 2007

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