Oh those fat cat public sector workers.
Last week we wrote about the ongoing campaign by right-wing organizations to portray the public sector as lazy, overpaid, and pampered.
The problem is, it isn’t really true.
The latest look at this issue is by the independent federal Parliamentary Budgetary Office in response to a request by the NDP’s Paul Dewar (MP – Ottawa Centre).
Let’s first go to the big raises our federal cousins have been hauling down. From 2001-02 to 2011-12 the net raise (after inflation) amounted to $130 million on a 10-year payroll of $354 billion. That’s NOT annual. That’s cumulative.
That means effectively federal wages were stagnant for much of the last decade, even though the first half saw decent economic growth.
If you break it down further, the last five years have seen a net loss in real wages relative to the consumer price index.
Contrary to the much publicized Fraser Institute press releases accusing the public sector of abusing sick leave allowances, earlier today Statistics Canada issued a report suggesting there is in fact very little real difference in absenteeism rates between the public and private sectors.
Statistics Canada says that when you factor in age and gender differences as well as the higher rate of unionization in the public sector, the actual adjusted rate of difference amounts to less than a day – in fact 0.8 of a day.
“The difference can be attributed to several factors, as the public sector workforce tends to be older, more female and more unionized,” StatsCan states in today’s The Daily.
The rate of unionization is obviously important given non-union workplaces can make it much more difficult for a worker to take legitimate leave for illness or family care. Some have no provision for illness. If you are sick, you don’t get paid. That also increases the opportunity for illness to be spread about a workplace.