I think by now Minister of Education Peter Fassbender has convinced us of the evil of negotiated arbitration agreements to settle labour disputes because of the financial hardship they could pose to the government and people of British Columbia.
If my memory serves me right, in 2007 the BC Liberal government accepted a wage increase of 29 per cent that was a result of a dispute that went to arbitration.
I didn’t hear of the Liberals complaining then that the government couldn’t afford such an increase and how it would break the government.
Mind you, I didn’t hear too many opposition MLAs condemn the increase either.
I think part of the problem here is that certain BC public utilities that are pseudo-privately managed help themselves to generous increases and bonuses under the not-so-watchful and caring eyes of the government while holding the public sector to minimal increases, saying that they can’t afford hefty increases in the public sector.
This might be true, but how do failing, always-begging-to-the-public corporations such as Translink and BC Ferries, as well as ICBC and BC Hydro, justify such outrageous salaries and bonuses, even during a so-called Translink wage freeze on Jan. 1, 2013 that has seen the number of salaries of $100,000 or more increase from 375 to about 435 during that wage freeze period?
Somehow big bonuses of $50,000 to the Translink CEO and assistant also seem to have creative ways of not coming under the freeze or the public radar to the extent that anything is done about it or to rollback such extravagances.
The Hon. Mr. Fassbender was also chairman of Translink when some of this “passive dishonesty” and blatant “double standard” went on.
I didn’t hear Mr. Fassbender cry then about how those big wages and bonuses were breaking Translink and thus further-burdening the public purse. I didn’t even hear a peep out of Mr Fassbender when huge stipends were issued to the board members of Translink for showing up at a meeting of directors.
Do I hear a “feeding at the trough” noise in the background?
Mr. Fassbender, how about replacing your disdain for “negotiated arbitration” settlements with a steady reliance on the old reliable crowd-pleasing statement: “You got to walk the talk.”