The Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU) is calling foul after learning Crown Corporation CEOs made more money last year at the same time the province was trying to cut workers’ wages.
In 2017, the Saskatchewan government asked all public sector workers to take a 3.5 per cent cut in pay and announced it would be cutting MLA, deputy minister and Crown executives’ salaries to lead by example.
The Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan payee disclosure report released on Thursday showed the executives of many Crown Corporations actually made a lot more money last year when accounting for things like bonuses and overtime.
The CEO of SaskPower made an additional $79,000 while the president and CEO of SGI got a $105,000 increase in his annual pay compared to the previous year.
SGEU describes the contrast as hypocritical, arguing it is unfair for the province to ask regular employees to take pay cuts while executives are getting even more money. The union said there is a double standard and noted that the government reversed the 3.5 per cent salary cut for MLAs.
The union rejected the proposed pay cut of 3.5 per cent and is still involved in negotiations with the province over a contract that ended in 2016.
In an emailed statement, the government said deputy ministers and Crown CEOs did participate in the 3.5 salary rollback but the figures in the report accounted for things like overtime, vacation pay and performance pay along with flexible spending account benefits.
The government explained there was also a change in the way performance pay is reported as salary holdbacks from year to year. The 2016-17 payee disclosure report did not include performance pay known as holdback payments for that year. Instead, those payments were reported as part of the 2017-18 pay this year which the government said accounts for the appearance of inflated total pay increases.
The province also maintains that performance-based pay is a standard within the industries that Crowns operate in and therefore necessary to be competitive to recruit and keep talented people for those executive roles.
– With files from Lisa Schick