Public Sector Compensation

About warrenreports

CEO of the The Warren Group and a public policy commentator.Former Ontario deputy minister,chief general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission and CEO of Canada Post Corporation.Chair and board member of a wide range of private and public sector organizations.
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1 Response to Public Sector Compensation

  1. billmosesos says:

    I remember back in the fifties that workers were told they couldn’t get a raise because then they would be making more than teachers. Finally they said, we are not going to accept that anymore and then they won wages which paid them more than the teachers. The teachers then realized that if they wanted better pay they would have to unionize. Now teachers appear to be very well paid which means that a teaching position is able to attract the cream of the crop which is a good thing.

    I worked on the Board of Referees at the local EI office. The people there worked hard, always under pressure. They had quotas to reach. There were bar charts on the bulletin boards showing how well they were doing and if they fell behind someone was sent in from out of town to see what the problem was. You could feel the tension in the office when that was going on.

    I remember in the nineties when Paul Martin did a lot of cutting within the civil service. That caused a lot of problems and they soon had to start hiring again.

    I also think you could make the argument that it was private sector wages and benefits that fell off rather than the civil service ones surging ahead.

    I do not though buy the argument that their higher wages are supporting the economy. Directing some of these wages to social programs would provide more direct support to both the economy and the people who need it.

    The more money and the more benefits a person makes, the harder you can push them. I believe this is happening.

    Of course things do get out of whack from time to time but in my opinion it doesn’t last partly because of articles such as yours. The problem is that the public has such a poor opinion of civil service employees already that we have to be careful about adding fuel to the fire.

    In my view, the way to go is to simplify the structure of government. Just as an example, in the end all people need food, clothing, and shelter. If we had a minimum guaranteed income program or a negative income tax, we could get rid of employment insurance administration, welfare administration, probably some jails, cut our healthcare costs and so on. In France and Australia they have 4 to 5 weeks vacation. Perhaps people would work for less if we enjoyed that benefit and others like it here in Canada.

    Finally when Gord Nixon, CEO of the Royal Bank makes $20 million dollars in a bad year (2009) it’s pretty hard to tell someone they aren’t worth $100,000 (1/2 of 1 %).


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