WCB giving away $281 million is irresponsible and ignores workers

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

June 29, 2016

 

WCB GIVING AWAY $281 MILLION IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND IGNORES WORKERS

 

Injured Saskatchewan workers and their families have taken a back seat to the interests of corporations eager to cash-in on money that should have gone to injury prevention, education and training, and increased benefits for injured workers.

 

“The Workers’ Compensation Board’s (WCB) decision to use excess investment earnings to issue cash refunds to employers is reckless and irresponsible,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) president Larry Hubich, “workers, particularly those who have been injured on the job, should be the primarily stakeholders and beneficiaries when it comes to the WCB – they are the ones that should have benefitted from strong investment returns,” he added.

 

This marks the second time in as many years that the WCB has bended to the pressure of fringe special interest groups that claim to represent small businesses. Such groups assert that the WCB’s excess investment earnings belong to premium-payers such as employers. However, the two areas of revenue are separate. The WCB’s surplus comes from strong investments, not from premiums that employers pay.

 

“Given Saskatchewan’s poor economic climate and credit rating downgrade, and given the economic uncertainty within the European Union and other shaky conditions, what happens when the WCB’s investment earnings dry up and they have to increase employer premiums?” asked Hubich, “I have a feeling that the same employers that currently have their hands out for free money will decry such a premium increase, claiming that instead benefits should be cut to injured workers,” he added.

 

Over the last two years the WCB has handed-out nearly half a billion dollars to employers through payouts of investment earning surpluses.

 

“We know that there is still much more work the WCB, Occupational Health and Safety Branch, and the government as a whole could be doing to inspect workplaces for dangers, educating and training both employers and workers on making jobs safer, increasing benefits to workers that get hurt, and other prevention measures,” said Hubich, “handing out $281 million to employers that don’t deserve it is so disappointing and such a lost opportunity,” he added.

 

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The SFL represents over 100,000 working people across the province in 37 affiliated unions.

 

SFL president Larry Hubich will be available for interviews on Thursday, June 30th, 2016.

 

For additional information, contact:

 

Kent Peterson

Strategic Advisor

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour

o: 1 (306) 525-0197

m: 1 (306) 570-1855

e: k.peterson@sfl.sk.ca

Saskatchewan's Labour Movement: the folks who brought you the constitutional right to strike!