Government must do more to boost employment
During my working years, I was most fortunate — and most grateful — to obtain continual employment until I retired after 30 years.
I was most blessed to secure work in our province and the only relocation to which I subjected my family was when I changed job sites at my own choosing. I never received any time-and-a-half or overtime pay; however, I earned regular income that allowed my family to enjoy a comfortable life.
Today, if I were seeking employment in our province, I would be economically frustrated, as the work here is so unpredictable; young families must have difficulty with the constant uncertainty of finding full-time employment.
Today, some families have both adults seeking employment to help the family merely survive and meet daily household bills. Many households today cannot afford to enjoy large families and, with both adults working, there is less family time and the necessity for hired babysitters.
The workers in our province today have more training and education than did my generation; yet they can find less work here and are forced to struggle to maintain some form of modest family lifestyle.
For young families of our province, this makes a bleak and dismal picture that will lead to destitution, and may lead to an increase in societal issues that, in the end, will put greater strain on our provincial economy.
Our provincial government members were elected to represent us and work towards what is best for citizens.
Although we did not present the government members with a written agreement saying they would provide all workers with fulltime employment, they should accept greater responsibility for the lack of employment for our better educated, trained young men and women.
In front of cameras and reporters, the government blandly boasts of mega-projects, yet reality loudly argues that far too many of our trained workers are unemployed.
As Des Sullivan has noted in his Uncle Gnarley blog, our provincial government, regardless of political stripe, allows companies such as Nalcor to totally control the awarding of contracts for the construction of transmission lines from Muskrat Falls to the island.
Besides the construction of the hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls, many kilometres of transmission lines and many large steel towers have been erected, and many of the workers are not from this province.
We have workers from other provinces of Canada and workers from further away who come here to work for very impressive wages and with generous travel subsidies.
The provincial government should have our workers complete this work or, if we did not have the workers with the needed qualifications, then previous advanced training should have been provided to enough young people from our province to complete the work.
Similarly, we see the massive Hebron oil platform being towed from Bull Arm to its destination in the Jeanne d’arc Basin, 350 kilometres southeast of St. John’s.
Some who seek undeserved praise brag about the employment created in its construction at Bull Arm, but they ignore that much of it was built far away by other workers.
Now this question must be asked very loudly: how would a young person from our province secure employment on this oilrig that will provide living accommodations for 220 workers?
If our provincial government had our best interests at heart, all workers on this oilrig would be from our province and, if extra training were needed, Exxonmobil should pay for the training.
And yet another mega-project is promised: Husky Oil has a $2.2-billion project using a fixed wellhead platform, and construction will be completed in Argentia. Premier Dwight Ball boasts “it will employ at least 700 people at peak.” However, as with Exxonmobil`s Hebron, some quietly whisper that much of this project will be completed by an unnamed contractor in the Gulf of Mexico area.
Here, the question is: do we have enough skilled workers to construct this platform here? If we don’t, we should allow Husky Oil to provide the needed training for the many underemployed tradespeople in our province.
“The workers in our province today have more training and education than did my generation; yet they can find less work here and are forced to struggle to maintain some form of modest family lifestyle.”