Why did the government need the PSSA? According to a document prepared for the Public Sector Compensation Committee:
A significant portion of government expenditures relates to public sector compensation, therefore any plan to return to fiscal balance requires certainty and sustainability in negotiated increases.
Or, as Stevenson admitted, another way of putting it is:
If we leave it to collective bargaining, we may not get the certainty that we get if we impose it by legislation.
But, in truth, it’s not really “certainty” that they are after. Rather, it is keeping public sector salaries fixed, and fixed at a lower rate than what they probably would be if the government had to negotiate for them.
What that really means is that the government is taking away the unions’ right to bargain freely on benefits and wages. This in turn means the government does not have to compete in its own labour market, or, as a result, pay market value for the labour of public employees, all other things being equal.
I’m not particularly a fan of ideological economic contentions from either side of the political spectrum. But it does make me wonder when, the laissez-faire believers are so always thoroughly against all market intervention in private business, yet when it comes to the public sector, well, intervene as you please.