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Pessimism about jobs

OTTAWA -- The Conference Board says Canadians are getting increasingly pessimistic about the economy and the availability of jobs -- except if they are in the booming West.

The think-tank's consumer confidence survey slid one point to 85.9 in July, the third month in a row it has fallen.

The big reason, says the Conference Board, is there's still a significantly large number of people who see the jobs picture darkening going forward with 22.7 per cent saying they expect fewer jobs in the next six months, compared with 15.9 per cent who expect more.

The pessimism about jobs is highest in Atlantic Canada, where only 5.9 per cent expect there to be more jobs in the next six months.

But optimism remains high in the West. Confidence grew in the Prairies 4.5 points in July to 107.8.

Even though the confidence index fell 9.9 points in British Columbia, it remains high at 105.9, or 20 percentage points above the national average.

 

McDonald's accountable

NEW YORK -- McDonald's says it has been notified by a labour regulator it can be named a "joint employer" for workers in its franchisee-owned restaurants.

The decision by the National Labor Relations Board was being closely watched because it could potentially expose McDonald's to liability for the working conditions and practices in its franchisees' stores. It also puts pressure on the world's biggest hamburger chain at a time when protests for higher wages in the fast-food industry have captured national attention.

McDonald's and other fast-food companies have repeatedly said they are not responsible for determining wages and other terms at their franchised locations.

In the U.S., the vast majority of McDonald's more than 14,000 restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees. The same is true for many other companies, including Burger King Worldwide Inc. and Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. The companies make money by collecting royalty and sales fees from franchisees.

Labour organizers say McDonald's should be held accountable as a joint employer because the company has so much control in setting the terms of operations even at its franchised locations, such as what menus, supplies, uniforms and training materials are used. The matter has come under the spotlight as fast-food worker groups backed by the Service Employees International Union have agitated for pay of US$15 an hour and the right to unionize since late 2012.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 30, 2014 B5

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