Unscientific Nonsense About Public Sector Wages

Unscientific Nonsense About Public Sector Wages

The Ontario Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released a report on September 28 which peddles unscientific nonsense about public sector wages in the province. In particular it tries to bolster wage restraint legislation known, as Bill 124, passed by the Ontario government in 2019 which restricted any wage increases to 1% each year from 2019 until 2024. The report presents a Supreme Court  challenge by 40 public sector unions of the legislation which took place from September 12-23 as a significant “risk” to the province along with inflation and staffing shortages.

The government launched this attack in the form of wage restraint legislation on public sector workers using an unscientific thesis. It asserted that the wages of public sector workers are a negative cost to the government and drain on the provincial treasury. This thesis is based on the absurd notion that public sector workers do not produce value for the province and people. In fact, the vast majority of public sector workers, through their work-time, produce enormous value in ways such as producing educated and healthy workers that are then able to work and produce even more value themselves.

Employers of enterprises refuse to acknowledge the value within the capacity to work of the workers they employ. They refuse to pay for it, even though this value forms part of the price of production they are buying when a worker works. Both theoretically and practically, they deny the existence of this social value. Their refusal to acknowledge this value means the public institutions that are responsible for producing it have to look elsewhere for payment, mainly from government revenue.

By refusing to realize (pay for) the social value fixed to workers’ capacity to work, yet accepting payment for this value when they sell the finished product their workers produce, the employers take the social value as profit beyond the added-value workers they employ produce. The government and FAO justify this scam and sweep it under the rug by declaring the wages of public sector workers as a so-called cost. This scam allows enterprises to profit from this value in the same way as if they were to refuse to pay for goods and services other businesses supply during the production process yet sell their social product at full value with the stolen transferred-value in the selling price. This enables employers to broaden their attack on the working class using the lie of wages as a cost of production.

The FAO, through its report, declares in the most self-serving manner that this law’s restriction of public sector wages has saved the government $9.7 billion since 2019. In fact this money was stolen from the unpaid wages of public sector workers. They produced the $9.7 billion in value and far more, which in turn became part of the fixed social value in healthy and educated workers and subsequently reproduced in the goods and services they create through their work using the productive forces.

As a result of the legislation, the government did not have to pay the $9.7 billion in stolen wages and could use it in other ways, for example by giving it to the global auto or battery monopolies.

Ontario’s Bill 124 directly attacks the rights and well-being of almost one million public sector workers. It also denigrates the public services and social programs the people and society rely on for their existence. Workers cannot tolerate this attack on their rights and the social fabric of their society. Their action, demanding wage increases they agree to, directly challenges this unjust law. Higher wages and better working conditions ensure social services are constantly improved and receive the positive attention they deserve.

In addition to directly challenging the government’s attack on their right to wages and working conditions they agree to, public sector workers must question the refusal to realize the value they produce and why the big enterprises do not pay for the social value they consume. This value is then manipulated and used to promote the big lie that their wages are a cost to the province.

Workers should also bring under scrutiny an outmoded cartel party political system that allows workers’ rights to be violated through police powers and social programs to be neglected. The police powers of Bill 124 have been unleashed against the working class with lies and a legislative façade of respectability. The disinformation and façade should be torn apart and denounced. By tearing off the smiling mask of police powers and demanding their rights be upheld, including the right to wages they agree to, public sector workers prepare themselves and encourage others to participate in bringing into being the necessary historic political changes whereby working people themselves govern their sectors and society directly with new economic and political forms and exercise control over all affairs that affect their lives.