Labour movement brought us prosperity

The labour movement has contributed to health and safety standards in the workplace, shorter work weeks, as well as gaining workers medical and maternity/paternity leave.

People in countries with high labour standards enjoy better quality of life and less stress overall.

When people are paid well for their labour, they are more productive, which increases the bottom line for employers. And they are less stressed, therefore happier, making parenting and life in general, much easier.

Labour Day is just as important as ever. Households are being challenged at every turn. Housing, fuel, food and other costs are on the rise and expendable income levels have not kept up, especially for the under-45 demographic as well as those on fixed pensions.

A living wage is critical (as are working conditions) for healthy families and a healthy community.

When people earn a living wage, our local economies are healthier too, supporting more local small businesses and creating more employment so that our young people can choose to settle in their home

communities if they want to.

Bonus – people who make a living wage pay more taxes, supporting healthcare, infrastructure and other societal costs.

I think we would have a healthier and happier world in general if there was more equality of income in the workforce. The labour movement has been one of the factors that increased people’s standard of

living for decades.

Many of my ancestors were instrumental in the early movement, working here on the Island in the coal mining and logging industries. Lost two second cousins to accidents – one in each of those industries.

We owe so much to these early crusaders, in terms of workers’ safety, benefits and shorter working hours. We must be ever protective of previous gains and strive to improve working and living conditions for all British Columbians going forward.

Happy Labour Day to all, and gratitude to those who have helped make B.C. such a great place to live and grow and raise a family.

Kate Marsh is a councillor for the Municipality of North Cowichan

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