Rewards for the few

the Conservative government is proving once again that it is not much
different from a corporate entity, complete with the questionable
fiscal activities the corporate structure often brings.

any worker knows, pensions are one of the most valuable assets their
job provides. We rely on pensions to keep us out of poverty in our
golden years. Without a decent pension, retirement can quickly become
a daunting prospect, forcing us to continue working until our bodies
simply quit on us. But the need for a decent pension hasn’t kept
employers, whether corporate or government, from making unilateral
changes to pensions in recent years. It almost goes without saying
that these changes are hardly ever to the benefit of workers.

federal public service is a case in point. The National Post reports
that even as federal public service jobs are being cut and the Public
Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is routinely drawn into battles to
keep the government from making changes to pension plans, the Public
Sector Pension Investment Board (PSIB) is making hay.

year, the top 5 executives with PSIB earned a combined $16.3 million
in total compensation. This figure represents base salaries plus
bonuses and other benefits. The government distances itself from PSIB
compensation by asserting that PSIB is an arm’s length organization
operating independent of the government, and that the government has
no role in the compensation of the executives. PSIB, for its part,
defends the outrageous executive compensation by claiming that they
operate on a pay-for-performance model and the board’s investments
have yielded above benchmark returns for the past several years.

are these explanations satisfactory? The PSIB executives are
appointed by Tony Clement and the federal government. Can the
government now claim that PSIB is truly arm’s length? And what of
the fact that in 2009 PSIB still paid out millions in incentives and
bonuses to its executives despite billions of dollars in losses? What
sort of pay-for-performance model really pays out such lucrative sums
amid massive losses? Something isn’t right here.

Ravignat, NDP treasury board critic, has noted this, stating that the
compensation given to PSIB executives is a “troubling” trend
whereby executives of federal agencies are receiving lucrative sums
at the same time as workers are facing cuts and having their pensions
scaled back. Deputy Ministers with the federal government have also
received undeserved bonuses. Tens of thousands of dollars per
minister has been awarded based on their identification of thousands
of public sector jobs that could be eliminated.

seen this story played out before in the private sector. The Hostess
executives received millions in bonuses even as they drove the
company into the ground and demanded concessions from the unions.
Closer to home, Coca-Cola workers at the bottling plant in Brampton,
ON have until recently been on strike to protest, in part, changes to
their pensions that the company sought to impose
And Wall Street executives were awarded large bonuses at the same
time as the government was forced to use taxpayer money to bail them

duty of government is to serve the people. If nothing else, it should
not function in ways that mirror corporate leaders who reward
themselves while punishing the workers. If PSIB wants to maintain a
pay-for-performance model, perhaps the workers who supplied the money
PSIB invests in the first place should more fully share in the
rewards of above-benchmark returns. After all, workers are certainly
expected to share in the losses.

You may also like

Lufthansa Flights Canceled Due to Strike

Lufthansa Flights Canceled Due to Strike

We Have a lot to Thank Unions For

We Have a lot to Thank Unions For

This Week in the History of the International Labour Movement Wagner Act

This Week in the History of the International Labour Movement Wagner Act
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our Bulletin now!