February 20, 2006: Issue 6
you get paid too much?
A new report paid for by the Ontario government says LCBO employees get paid too much. The report, by the consulting firm of Deloitte and Touche, was tabled in the Legislature Jan. 17. It says that the LCBO “is a well managed organization that has successfully transformed itself into a modern retailer.” But it also says Queen’s Park should be looking at ways to cut costs. Sixty per cent of LCBO’s costs are wage and benefit costs. The LCBO pays higher wages and has more full-time staff compared to other Canadian retailers, the Deloitte report says. Filling positions based on seniority (as required by the OPSEU collective agreement) also adds to the cost of staff, it notes. How can the LCBO reduce those costs? Hire more casuals, the report says. Deloitte also has other cost-cutting ideas:
In a letter to employees Jan. 17, the LCBO was quick to downplay the report. Former Chair and CEO Andy Brandt and President and COO Bob Peter wrote that:
It is important to note that the government does not plan to explore any of the options in the report that conflict with our Collective Agreement or could affect labour relations. For example, the report recommends reviewing certain existing functions with a view to possibly outsourcing. The government has informed us it has no plans to pursue such recommendations.
“While it is important that the LCBO says there are no plans to contract out more of the work our members do, we still have a lot of questions about the report,” said Jo Ann Fisher, Acting Chair of the Liquor Board Employees Division of OPSEU (LBED). “We hope to have a meeting of our provincial Labour-Management Committee as soon as we can. Hopefully we’ll get some answers.”
OPSEU members can expect the LCBO to keep pushing hard to cut wage costs, said OPSEU president Leah Casselman.
“No matter what they say about this report, the fact is that the LCBO is already cutting wages and benefits by wiping out full-time jobs and by selling more booze through agency stores,” she said.
“This report views the LCBO as just another retailer,” Casselman said. “It’s not. The LCBO sells a controlled substance, it is publicly owned, and it makes unheard-of profits per employee.
“It should be a model employer that offers full-time jobs and a solid benefit package for everyone who works there.”
For a copy of the report tabled in the Legislature, please send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-268-7376 ext. 8797 or (416) 443-8888 ext. 8797.
Committee will survey casuals about benefits
Last fall, the Liquor Board Employees Division set up a province-wide committee of casual employees to design a benefit plan for all casuals at the LCBO.
In the three meetings held so far, we’ve discussed various plan designs, but we need more information. The committee has decided to distribute a formal survey to all casuals in April. Watch for it -- we’re hoping that all casuals will complete and give the committee a strong sense of what our members need.
Members of the Casuals Benefits Committee are:
Chair: Fred Kemp (905) 579-6099;
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The Echo is authorized for distribution by Jo Ann Fisher, Acting Chair, Liquor Board Employees Division, and Leah Casselman, President.
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