Briefs to the People's Commission on Unemployment

Publisher:  St. John's Oxfam Committee, St. John's, Canada
Year Published:  1978  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX778

This brief discusses the consequences and the questions which arise when a foreign based multinational company decided to close down its operation either because the resource is depleted or the company decided that it is no longer economically profitable to its shareholders to continue its operation.

Abstract:  Buchans is a one company town founded to exploit a non-renewable resource. The brief discusses the consequences and the questions which arise when a foreign based multinational company decided to close down its operation either because the resource is depleted or the company decided that it is no longer economically profitable to its shareholders to continue its operation. Whose responsibility is it to keep the town alive? Who has benefited most financially from the activities of the company? The report refers to the frustrations of a locally based task force to have its recommendations implemented and compares its directives to some alternatives adapted in Scotland and Peru where communities have been successful in negotiating contracts with companies making them responsible for the communities they affect.
A second brief describes the manner in which multinational corporations develop, how they exercise control over markets and supply, the elimination of competition, their relatively high capacity for financing, mobility of capital, exploitation of cheap labour, and how the behaviour of such corporations affects the economy of Newfoundland and especially employment. It names eight such multinationals which have operated in Newfoundland. The brief takes a look at six myths and offers a differing point of view in relation to each: 1) workers are too choosy, 2) workers must be mobile, 3) Newfoundland is a have-not province, 4) immigrants are taking away our jobs so keep them out of the country, women are taking away men's jobs so keep women in the homes, older people are taking up jobs needed by the young so legislate compulsory retirement; 5) Newfoundland workers are not productive enough to compete with industries elsewhere and 6) local capital is not willing to take risks.
The briefs conclude urging governments and labour unions to exercise their mandates to take action against further exploitation of Newfoundland's natural resources; and to prevent massive layoffs with their accompanying hardships.

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