22 Dec 2011

Staff at 'Grinch' KPMG well looked after
while advocating 'workers' comp' cuts

It is bitterly ironic that KPMG – the private consulting firm that helps governments wipe out thousands of important jobs that make our communities work well – is itself regarded as one of the very best employers in the country.

Injured workers and their support groups in Ontario are outraged by the recent KPMG report for the Ministry of Labour’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) that, according to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), “advocates that a successful workers compensation system is one that stops compensating injured workers.”

KPMG – which operates across Canada and internationally – performs “hatchet jobs” for governments – often governments that don’t have the nerve to take the lead themselves when they want cutbacks.

Here are some of KPMG’s recommendations, according to OCAP:

  • injured workers who get laid off should be denied compensation,
  • people who get re-injured should have less access to compensation, compensation for permanent injuries should be reduced, and
  • the WSIB should be able to review compensation indefinitely, thereby leaving injured workers with absolutely no income security.

KPMG operates across Canada as well as in 145 other countries globally. The organization’s motto is: “Cutting through complexity.”

In 2011, KPMG was named as the World's Best Outsourcing Advisors, which basically recognizes their skills to help companies get rid of good paying staff positions and farming them out to lower-paying, often questionable companies.

The individuals – mostly accountants – who choose to work for an organization that helps destroy the jobs and lives of thousands of hard-working Canadians are themselves treated like Royalty.

According to a 2010 report in The Globe and Mail, This is what KPMG offers: “flexible job schedules, a salary top-up for 17 weeks of maternity leave, four weeks of paternity leave, bonuses for staff who volunteer in the community, access to elder care – and a concierge service to help an employee, say, renew his passport or plan his family vacation while at the office.” 

In 2009, KPMG wanted to reduce its Canadian staff. Instead of layoffs, it offered the option of a year-long sabbatical, during which employees would receive a portion of their pay. Some 230 people took advantage of the program.

Sadly, KPMG does not display this sort of understanding or kindness when it recommends that governments carry out massive cutbacks or slash the benefits of injured workers.

Directory of KPMG’s Management Committee -
People should be responsible for what kinds of organizations they work for and what impact the organizations have on society. Bill Thomas, presides over the KPMG’s principal decision-making body, the Management Committee, and its key members are shown here:

KPMG International Cooperative is a Swiss entity. It is the coordinating entity for a global network of independent firms in 146 countries employing 140,000 people. Each KPMG firm is separate and legally distinct.

Various divisions of the cooperative have had some serious problems over the years:

Canada: In 2008, the company paid out an estimated $10-million after a Toronto employee launched a class-action lawsuit claiming support staff were denied compensation for overtime. The bulk of KPMG’s staff are chartered accountants, who are excluded from the country’s overtime provisions. But the employee, who was a “technician,” said she was owed $87,000 in unpaid overtime accrued over her four years with the company. After this case, the company made improvements to better compensate all employees. .” 

United States: In 2005, KPMG has admitted to criminal wrongdoing and agreed to pay $456 million in fines, restitution and penalties as part of an agreement to defer prosecution of the firm concerning a multi-billion-dollar criminal tax fraud conspiracy.

Other litigations and court cases concerning various KPMG cooperative companies, including ones in the United Kingdom and Japan, worked their way through the courts for years, costing the firms millions of dollars in legal fees.
Workers cut off benefits more quickly -
Concerning the workers’ compensation report, OCAP criticizes the KPMG report for concluding, quite erroneously, that the quality and consistency of decisions concerning disabled workers in Ontario has improved because workers' benefits are being slashed.

OCAP also says that more workers are being denied initial entitlement for their injuries (11.3% in 2010 versus 7.9% in 2009), that workers are being cut off benefits more quickly following injury; and that more workers are being told that their ongoing symptoms are not caused by the workplace accident, but instead are caused by alleged "pre-existing, age-related changes".

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