News briefs

Fish processor pays for union-busting closures; Paying someone else to do your job; Today’s forecast: meteorologist shortage; Communication equals profits; Payroll deduction changes; N.B. minimum wage


Fish processor pays for union-busting closures
CHARLOTTETOWN — Polar Foods has been ordered to pay lost wages to employees laid off when two Prince Edward Island fish processing plants were closed after union organizers arrived on the scene. The P.E.I. Labour Relations Board ordered the firm to compensate 150 workers for a total settlement of nearly $500,000, noting testimony at an unfair labour practices hearing made it clear Polar Foods shut the plants to avoid a union. While Polar Foods has since gone into receivership, receiver Ernst and Young is expected to pay the settlement.

Paying someone else to do your job
MONTREAL — Canada Post has fired two letter carriers who were selling parts of their routes to co-workers. One of the fired employees was also found with 75,000 undelivered pieces of mail in his apartment, some of it dating back five years. A third worker has been suspended as the corporation continues its investigation.

Today’s forecast: meteorologist shortage
CALGARY — Canada will need another 2,350 meteorologists by 2010, but low enrolment in academic programs that produce weather experts point to a human resource shortfall, states a new report commissioned by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. Canada has 9,200 meteorologists now, but private-sector employers are already reporting trouble finding professionals. The agriculture, construction and tourism sectors have weather-forecasting needs, as do aviation, shipping and trucking which rely on accurate forecasts for just-in-time delivery.

Communication equals profits
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Companies that communicate effectively with their workers financially out-perform those that do not, a recent study found. Watson Wyatt’s 2005/2006 Communication ROI Study of American and Canadian employers found that from the year 2000 to 2004, companies with the most effective communication programs returned 57 per cent more to their shareholders than companies with the least effective communication programs.

Payroll deduction changes
OTTAWA — The Employment Insurance premium rate for employees in all parts of Canada except Quebec will go down from 1.95 per cent to 1.87 per cent beginning Jan. 1. The employer rate will be 1.4 times the employee rate, or 2.618 per cent, down from 2 .73 per cent in 2005. Further details, including Quebec changes, as well as new RPP and RRSP limits for 2006 are available at www.hrreporter.com. Select “Advanced Search” and enter article #4104. You’ll also find a list of newly announced workers’ compensation board earnings’ ceilings.

N.B. minimum wage
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s minimum wage increases 10 cents to $6.40 at the beginning of next year. On Jan. 1, 2007, the rate will increase to $6.60.

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