Banks aren’t the only villains outsourcing jobs: Walkom


I am reposting this article to help the issue become exposed to a larger audience and to keep the issue in the public eye. I am publishing it in its entirety and without changing the text ( I have only added bold to the more important parts of the article). I want you, my reader to be informed and this is a very important issue for the health of the Canadian economy and the health of Canadian middleclass, that is vital to Canada’s economic health. After all, and unfortunately for the middle class, many the rich are secreting their money out of the country to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, which amounts to a heavy burden falling upon the ever shrinking middle class.  {see bottom of article for additional articles 1 and 2}). The last 2 articles on the bottom of the page are a continuation of the outsourcing issue.
By: Thomas Walkom National Affairs, Published on Tue Apr 16 2013

The war against good jobs extends well beyond the banks.

Banks have been at the centre of controversy since complaints surfaced this month about the Royal Bank of Canada’s decision to outsource 45 well-paid, high-tech jobs to India.

But as readers have reminded me, banks aren’t the only ones involved in a contracting-out process that has been going on for years.

Businesses of all sorts do it to avoid payroll taxes such as employment insurance premiums as well as the statutory benefits, like vacation pay, that employees are guaranteed by law.

Governments do it to reduce their deficits and curry favour with voters. As several readers noted, media companies do it, too.

“Why stop with the banks?” asks one.

That reader worked at the Ontario Ministry of Health for eight years. He operated out of ministry offices and used ministry equipment. But technically, he was not a government employee. Technically, he worked for a third-party contractor hired by a government desperate to keep its wage costs down.

Writes another information technology worker who was laid off two years ago by the Ontario government so his job could be outsourced: “Let’s start at the top. Make our governments stop the practice.”

Initially, the jobs outsourced were low-skilled such as those performed over the phone by customer service agents. Initially, these jobs were outsourced to Canadians in low-wage provinces like New Brunswick.

In the 1990s, then-New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna tried to turn this into a virtue by touting his province as the call-centre capital of Canada.

But soon, employers figured out the secret of the electronic age: If telemarketing can be done in low-wage New Brunswick, it can also be done in even lower-wage jurisdictions such as India.

And then the second revelation: In the Internet age, why stop at telemarketing? Why not outsource any job whose product can be delivered electronically? Why not outsource those very information technology positions that Canadian governments have been touting as the jobs of the future?

In 1981, a reader whom I’ll call Jim graduated with a degree in the hot new area of information technology. He worked for several financial institutions. Then a few years ago, he got into a new line of work — helping banks outsource to India the very jobs he once did.

Did he feel guilty? “Absolutely,” says Jim. But he had kids in university. He needed the work. What could he do?

In the end, Jim suffered the final irony. His new job was outsourced to a third-party contractor — who promptly brought in someone from India to do the work.

The Internet may have permitted this kind of job destruction. But the Great Recession has accelerated the process.

This slump is not like the Depression of the ’30s. It is not a time of total economic collapse. Rather it is a time of relentless grinding down.

Unions are being ground down; wages are being ground down. Jobs are being ground out of existence. With the economy so weak and foreign competition so fierce, domestic firms find it harder to expand.

For many, the only solution is to squeeze their workers.

Before the Great Recession, goods moved easily across borders. So did capital.

But what’s new about this slump is that labour has become an equally fluid component of the production process.

Sometimes labour moves physically. The federal temporary foreign worker program is designed to shift individual labourers swiftly and painlessly into Canada in order to accelerate the downward pressure on wages here.

Sometimes, as the Royal Bank has demonstrated, jobs move at the flick of a switch. The physical workers remain in Canada. But their work moves abroad.

“I feel the whole game is rigged against us,” says Jim, the IT specialist.





About pushinback

Back in 1993, I attended an anti-Nafta rally in Ottawa along with over 110,000 others. But despite the overwhelming opposition to NAFTA, the steamroller rolled on. It was there that I came to understand the one vital thing that I have been preaching ever since. There are so many issues, and so many fighting each issue, we are all spinning our wheels, and wasting our time, talents and energy, because each election, we give the politicians our power and so the deck is stacked against us. I said it that day and I say it with more fervency today. We all have one issue that we share, and we should all stop fighting for our own issues and losing anyways, and we should fight to achieve that one thing that we all share. We Canadians all have to fight to finally get a say between elections. We need to fight to make politicians accountable to us, the people. If there is no accountability, and the people have no say between elections, we have no Democracy. My Blog is written to teach the reader the essential knowledge of freedom and Democracy. Please read, and learn. I am one person, but I leave you my witness that one person is not powerless, only first you must first learn and then act. Let the democratic revolution begin. Kindest regards, Rob McQueen
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