Council of Trade Unions media release
21 December 2010
Government’s zeal to privatise undermines ACC
In announcing its ‘in-principle’ decision to allow employers to choose between ACC and private insurers the Government is ignoring the evidence, said the CTU today.
CTU President Helen Kelly said: “There are many reasons to oppose this privatisation of our wonderful scheme. Despite the Minister’s comments about solvency requirements for private insurers these never have and never will prevent a private business from going broke, as the recent spate of insurance firm collapses proves. Workers that experienced the last time ACC was privatised had horror stories of claims being denied and of long delays in payments. Employers and insurers had a considerable incentive to collaborate in order to deny liability.”
“Despite the Minister’s comments about solvency requirements for private insurers these never have and never will prevent a private business from going broke, as the recent spate of insurance firm collapses proves.”
“There is also a real risk that private insurance will pick up all the ‘safe’ business while ACC is left to cover all the most dangerous industries and bear the liabilities for them.”
“This has all the hallmarks of a manufactured crisis when in fact in the last year ACC revenue was over one billion dollars more than it spent on claims.”
“ACC is about social insurance and to treat it as a private insurance model will, in the end, undermine the entire basis of the ACC scheme.”
Helen Kelly said that the Government is shifting the burden more and more on to workers and their families. This is demonstrated by changes already introduced to ACC such as exclusion of some people with hearing loss, unfairly requiring accident victims to return to work for any job they are assessed as able to do rather than a similar job to the one they were in at the time of the accident, and ‘experience rating’ which will encourage some employers to cover up workplace accidents. All this comes on top of anti-worker legislation such as removing the right of appeal against unfair dismissal in the first 90 days at work, and restrictions on rights to meal and refreshment breaks.