I want to see the workers of Canada get a living wage and some security. We will not stop until we get that. That should be the policy of the government, because it is one of the promises which was held out to the workers. The \vorkers in the packing houses are asking for a forty-hour week and thirty per cent increase in pay, so that they would get the same wage for a forty-hour week as they are now getting for a forty-eight hour week. Wages in the packing houses are not high, and the conditions in some departments are dreadful. I do not know whether hon. members have been through the packing houses and have seen the conditions under which these men work, often wading through blood and dirt. Have they seen the workers in these shops travelling from sub-zero to almost tropical temperatures in different rooms, day after day? Here is an industry that seriously impairs the health of the worker. It is all very well thinking in terms of an hourly wage, but after all that is not the way to think of those engaged in these jobs. You must think of them in terms of an annual wage, and then ask how long such men will be able to carry on in the packing house industry. As a matter of fact, a man of fifty is pretty well through because the severity of the work in the packing plant is such that he cannot carry on after that age.
These men are asking for some improvement in conditions, some hope of security from the government, and they are not holding anybody up. I may tell the government now, and they know it as well as I do, that there is going to be a strike in this industry unless they get busy and bring down a policy which will suit the workers throughout the country. The workers do not want very much. They want union security and reduced hours of work, they want decent working conditions and incomes on which they and their
families can live in comfort. These are the minimum demands of those who have been producing to win the war, of those whose sons died to win the war. They are the minimum demands of the workers of Canada, and the workers are going to get them, or they and their brothers who are coming out of the services are going to know the reason why.
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS