CIBC fights back on overtime
Toronto — The first bank to be slapped with a class-action lawsuit on overtime pay is fighting back with 50 affidavits from employees, managers and executives. The affidavits state employees are not routinely expected to work overtime and, when they do, they are compensated with pay or time in lieu, said a bank spokesperson. The $600-million lawsuit was launched by a teller who said she regularly worked 2.5 to five hours of overtime a week but was told not to report it. Other overtime suits have been filed against Scotiabank and Canadian National Railway.
Stressed nurses more error-prone: Study
Ottawa — One in five nurses made mistakes when giving drugs to their patients, with nurses who work in short-staffed and under-resourced settings reporting significantly more mistakes than nurses elsewhere. That’s according to a Statistics Canada report, based on a survey of 19,000 nurses between October 2005 and January 2006. Nurses who regularly worked overtime were more likely to make errors than those who didn’t (22 per cent versus 14 per cent). Other factors that had a strong correlation with errors were poor relationships with physicians (27 per cent versus 12 per cent), low job security (32 per cent versus 19 per cent) and job dissatisfaction (28 per cent versus 18 per cent). Experience and levels of education had little impact on error rates.
Unions challenge EI at supreme court
Ottawa — The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) wants the Supreme Court of Canada to declare the use of employment insurance premiums by successive governments to pay down the national debt unconstitutional. The money, now a $54-billion surplus, should be returned to employers and employees or be used to defray future contributions, the CLC argues in conjunction with two Quebec labour groups. The unions lost an earlier ruling at the Quebec Court of Appeal, which found the EI premiums were collected within the scope of federal taxation powers. The federal budget delivered early this year has established a new Crown corporation to administer the EI system. It will restrict the use of the EI fund to EI benefits only and limit premiums to the amount needed to cover the cost of EI plus a $2-billion cushion.
CUPE to review pension risks
Ottawa — The Canadian Union of Public Employees has assembled a task force to look at workers’ pensions in light of “turbulent financial markets,” said a union release. “Worker retirement programs in Canada stand to suffer estimated losses of $7 billion to $13 billion from the rerouting of (asset-backed commercial paper) which was supposed to have been a ‘secure’ investment,” stated CUPE president Paul Moist. Other concerns include the decline of the United States dollar, the rise of private equity and hedge funds, the bursting of the American real estate bubble — “the list is daunting and long,” the union said in the statement.
Morneau Sobeco acquires Shepell-fgi
Toronto — The pension and benefits consulting firm Morneau Sobeco is expanding its scope of service with the $321.9-million purchase of employment assistance program provider Shepell-fgi. “Shepell-fgi’s recognized leadership in workplace health and productivity solutions” will allow Morneau Sobeco to “serve a broader spectrum of organizations’ human resource management needs,” said Morneau Sobeco CEO William Morneau.