Currie’s Corner 625, May 24, 2018
Dame Maggie Smith had many delicious moments as the Dowager Countess on Downtown Abbey. My favourite was when one of the other characters asked “What do you do on weekends”. Without batting an eye, she said “What’s a weekend?”
Being almost retired for the past several years, I can relate better than I did when I had just 3 or 4 weeks of vacation to carefully nurture in a 12 month period. I have been blessed to do work that is challenging and never boring. Safe to say the majority of Canadian workers live from paycheque to paycheque. Work is brutal and mind-numbing in many cases.
Despite all this, many Canadian workers seem to be burdened by guilt or something. In a recent survey, a major payroll and human resources company found that only one in three workers in this country take all of their vacation time, and more than a quarter said they take less than half of the days to which they’re entitled. Paid vacations and the five day work week are relatively recent perks that have been earned by the labour movement. The same is true of things like minimum wage, ‘time and a half for overtime’ and coffee breaks.
There are studies that suggest that Canadian workers are not doing all that well when ‘productivity’ is measured. Donald Trump, the bully who resides part-time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, seems determined to shame major American companies to stop exporting jobs to places like Mexico. The quality of life for most Mexican workers is a pale shadow of what we enjoy in this country, because of wages that are less than half of what we earn for comparable work.
The U.S. President continues to do his best to sabotage the NAFTA negotiations. He says both Canada and Mexico are ‘spoiled’ and the U.S. has suffered because of it. What on earth would he know about any of it.
Have a great holiday everyone, and don’t you dare ignore any of your entitlements.
I’m Roger Currie