The advocacy organization, Justice for Migrant Workers, on June 29 called for an immediate shutdown of Ontario’s entire agricultural industry until every workplace is fully sterilized to stop the spread of COVID-19 among its workers. From the start of the pandemic, to that point, more than 1,000 agri-farm workers were diagnosed with COVID-19 across the province, according to Chris Ramsaroop. Justice for Migrant Workers made the following demands of the provincial and federal governments:
- Full access for migrant workers to all benefits, health care and application of all labour standards to which Canadian workers are entitled.
- Non-discriminatory testing across the community and food chain.
- Workers testing positive get the benefits of full quarantine even if they are asymptomatic.
- Permanent residence status to all workers with temporary or undocumented status.
The horrendous conditions of migrant farm workers are just the tip of the menacing iceberg. Most migrant workers, including many females from the Philippines, Mexico and South America who labour here as cleaners and personal service workers, suffer unsafe, precarious and low wage conditions. They are super-exploited for private profit. Socialist Action echoes the demands of the Migrant Workers’ Alliance, including those listed below. SA calls on unions and the labour-based New Democratic Party to make the campaign to champion the rights of this section of the world working class a top priority. Socialist Action joins in demanding for migrant workers and their families:
- The right to work and decent wages to make a good living.
- Freedom from discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion or any other status, in all aspects of work, including in hiring, conditions of work, and promotion, and in access to housing, health care and basic services.
- The right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law, particularly in regard to human rights and labor legislation, regardless of legal status.
- The right to equal pay for equal work.
- The right to freedom from forced labor.
- The right to protection against arbitrary expulsion from the State of employment, and the right to return home if the migrant wishes.
- The right to safe working conditions and a clean and safe working environment.
- The right to reasonable limitation of working hours, for rest and leisure.
- The right to freedom of association and to join a trade union.
- The right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace.
- The right to protection during pregnancy from work proven to be harmful.
- The right to protection for children from economic exploitation and from any work that may be hazardous to their well-being and development.
- The right of children of migrant workers to education.
- The right of migrants and their families to reunification.
The super-exploitation and oppression of migrant workers is a feature of capitalist rule, aggravated by the present pandemic, economic depression and environmental crisis. Only a Workers’ Government on the road to socialist revolution can transform society in the interests of the vast majority. Help make it happen. Join us today!