CANADA - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has branded the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) criticism of public pensions as a "mean-spirited and economically illiterate attack on the public sector".
CFIB president Anne Swift hit out at "unjustifiable and unfair" public pensions, and claimed taxpayers were on the hook for a widening gap between public and private sector pension plans in Canada. But NUPGE secretary-treasurer Larry Brown described Swift's claims as short-on-facts, and added it was "very hard to take this CFIB report seriously".
"What a surprise! Another mean spirited and economically illiterate attack on the public sector, one in a series from the CFIB, this time an attack on the pension plans of public sector employees," Brown stated in a letter to Swift.
He claimed the CFIB report deliberately ignored the fact public sector workers paid half the cost of their pension. "Public sector employees, every single pay day, have half the cost of their pension plan deducted from their pay cheques," said Brown.
"The majority of private sector pension plans, on the other hand, are not half paid for by the employees. Instead the employer bears the full cost."
Brown went on to describe any move to cut public pensions as "economically perverse", and claimed that, with ever more people nearing retirement, it would create economic disruption.
"Do all these businesses [CFIB members] understand what damage they will do to their businesses, if we force 22% of the population to exist on subsistence pensions," asked Brown.
"Does the CFIB not understand the social cost, and taxpayer cost, if that great a percentage of the population is subjected to poverty level incomes or worse in their elder years?"
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