What do you think about child labor?
Posted at 9:00 am
I’m not talking about young, old teenagers, I’m talking about 11, 12, 13 year olds. This is a question which seems to have arisen from another century and which comes back to haunt us. Recently in the Quebec City area, I stopped at a fast food chain and a faded coffee shop. A 16-year-old girl led the twins of her brigade to Rotisserie, while an 11-year-old boy, cunningly, took my coffee order. He needed the help of two colleagues … who looked like they were 12 years old. The chicken and coffee went bad.
I can turn it around: it’s not uncommon for kids to fry at 9:30 on a Saturday night or 6:45 on a Sunday in the middle of a school year.
You see them, these young employees in stores and supermarkets, but also in companies, in factories. You are not dreaming, it is not just an impression. Quebec does not keep job statistics for very young people, but the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) does. Workplace accidents among those under the age of 16 increased by 36% in 2021. The youngest of the injured was 12 years old. At the forefront of accidents: falling equipment, tools or equipment, and burns.1
You should know that there is no minimum age for working in Quebec. Children under the age of 14 must obtain written permission from their parents. Big deal.
Why very young people do not work, many answer? As teenagers, we worked in the evenings, summer, weekends, newspaper delivery, summer monitors, waiters. Those dollars earned in adolescence taught us the value of money, sometimes the feeling of community. There is a constructive aspect to the work of young people. But with a few exceptions, we didn’t work 25 hours a week during the school year. A French teacher last week spoke out against those who devalue child labor, calling them “victims.” He considers it a rewarding experience.
The work of very young people will be so normal.
But how do we find it “normal” for a child to work 12 to 25 hours a week in the middle of the school year? At what cost? Yes, there is a shortage of workers. Have we as a society become more evolved, more progressive, more “educational” in adopting child labor? To overtake the body and mind in full structure? In a society where dropout rates, especially among boys, are still particularly alarming? A Quebec where functional illiteracy rate is a silent plague?
Because that’s it: choosing between school and work. Labor deficits have a wide back.
These young men are paid attractive wages every hour. One participant in a report Sunday Desalts It is said that a young sweeper from a sawmill earns 26 26 per hour. These strange works immediately became attractive to young people.
But who works, at the age of 11? I don’t think rich kids find “trainer” pinball burgers at the age of 12. As it happens, young people in less privileged neighborhoods or areas often work: their salaries make a difference for their families. Child labor has a geography. A population that speaks to social classes – you have to call things by their names. There is a trap among the children of less affluent families, especially when it comes to fighting workers: these weird jobs (relatively well paid) are in direct competition with education, in an environment where the latter is not always a valuable risk that the child, then The teenager prefers instant work in school and he settles into a dynamic that will make him poor in the long run. And this, even in a labor market where Z rules.2 It is a vicious circle of jobs and poverty that thus begins fraudulently.
When we think of child labor, we see these images of young people in the mines, in the factories, during the Industrial Revolution; A tragic life where they were kicked out of school for helping their siblings.
These are times of misery, a time when children have no rights. And today, the work will be smiling and constructive, at the age of 12?
But what is this society that confuses childhood with the work dedicated to fun, learning, Cold ? We become distorted when we see childhood. A child in 2022, is not a permanent solution to labor shortages or a complement to family income. If we think so, it is because of our lack of attitude towards work – and the social safety net. The intensive work of children is a hoax. For them, individually, those who earn well after mourning, are well trained. For society, because these incompetent, poor educated workers will be left behind in the society of knowledge. What kind of society do we want?
My coffee, served by a kid about 11 years old, tastes bitter.