Thursday, June 21, 2012

THE HUM ON THE HUMBER

It is D-days in Corner Brook where workers at the province's last remaining pulp and paper mill are holding a vote that will determine the future of Krugar's operations in the mill.

The workers are being forced by the company, which is in caught between a rock and hard place by depressed paper markets, to give even more pension concessions, if the mill is to remain in production.

The largest local, the Local Communications Energy and Paperworkers vote today and Friday. An ominous sign, 40 members of The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers rejected the owner's latest offer yesterday.

Frankly, I find it hard to accept that public sectors or private sector works have to make concessions to pump up a pension plan that is supposed to be there for them. How is it that the municipal, provincial, federal governments and private companies are permitted to carry unfunded pension liabilities?

Why is it tolerable to hold workers, who pay into pensions, that they count on for future, hostage in times of uncertain economics. Governments and the private sector should not be permitted to spend in the red if there are unfunded pension liabilities.

Perhaps it is time to apply legislation to all organizations demanding that pensions be kept hole and substantiate at all times. I envisage something akin to balanced budget legislation that forces the public and private sector to balance the pension books.

Can Sir Richard Squires campaign slogan of " put the Hum on the Humber,” be considered as a foreshadow of the economic challenges facing the province in terms of future GDP and non oil/mineral revenues for provincial coffers. 

 As the skilled millwrights have proven with their vote on the proposed deal, they are in demand, we want to be paid what we are worth. That worth can be found in Alberta, the source of thousands of the best paying jobs in rural Newfoundland

 An over-reliance on government has stunted entrepreneurial growth and misled the real economic picture in the province. How do we brag about being a have province when 13 per cent of the province is unemployed?  As Don Mills, CEO of  CRA stated yesterday "  there were 5,334 more public sector jobs and only 1,367 more private sector jobs between 2008-11. It this good for GDP growth?" - of course not-  Reality check.

That reality check is the basis of this year's economic retrenchment.

So goes the Humber, so goes the province! 

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