October 22, 2009
ACC privatisation will cost workers up to $200m a year - EPMU
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says National’s decision to privatise the ACC Work Account is a cynical move that will transfer up to $200 million a year from workers to the Australian insurance industry.
The privatisation announcement follows a systematic campaign by the government to portray ACC’s accounts as being in a state of crisis, despite the scheme making a billion dollar surplus in the last financial year and receiving a glowing report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says privatising the Work Account will mean higher levies and reduced coverage as working New Zealanders are forced to cover the profits of private insurers.
“National has been utterly cynical about ACC right from the outset when Nick Smith tried to manufacture a crisis by misleading New Zealanders about the financial implications of full funding.
“This deal with ACT confirms just how cynical National has been. Either they planned to privatise the Work Account all along, or they’re allowing a party with 3% of the vote dictate the ACC coverage of 2.4 million working New Zealanders.
“Despite all their soothing words about holding an ACC Stocktake first, the fact is this steering group doesn’t have a single worker representative on it and has been stacked towards privatisation from the outset.
“Privatisation is not going to reduce levies for workers and businesses. Private insurance companies will need to make a profit from somewhere and this can only come through higher levies or denied compensation.
“The only winners from privatisation will be the Australian insurance companies. In fact, a report released by Merrill Lynch before the election shows National’s backers in the insurance industry stand to profit by up to $200 million a year.
“This is a purely political decision and it is workers who will pay the price. The EPMU has no choice but to work with the Council of Trade Unions and allied groups to mount a campaign to knock it back.”
The EPMU is New Zealand’s largest private sector union, representing 45,000 working New Zealanders across eleven industries.