FORD GOV'T TABLES BILL TO SLAP CAP ON PUBLIC-SECTOR WAGES, UNIONS NOT HAPPY
Jun 05, 2019
By Bob Komsic
Let the belt-tightening begin.
Not yet, but it appears soon, as the Ford government’s threatening to cap broader public sector wage hikes to an average of one-percent-a-year for three years.
Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy says the aim’s to rein in spending so there’s money for programs and services Ontarians rely on.
Everyone means about 1.2-million employees in various fields — schools, universities,colleges, hospitals, long-term care facilities, Ornge air ambulance and children’s aid societies.
The average public sector employee makes $64-thousand-a-year.
The proposed legislation does not apply to doctors.
The austerity moves would not take effect immediately as the legislature’s rising for the summer Thursday, so barring an emergency session next month or in August, the bill cannot become law until the fall.
But it does send a signal to the unions, including those representing teachers, that are about to enter into negotiations.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation President Harvey Bischof says this ”means that the government’s claim to be coming to the table in good faith is an absolute sham.”
Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath agrees, saying it does not respect the bargaining process.
Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association says it’ll take legal action if necessary.
The move’s left president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas, wondering.
”Who’s he (Doug Ford) coming after next to pay for his stupid buck-a-beer and beer in corner stores?”
Thomas warns OPSEU will be consulting its lawyers about the constitutionality of imposing a cap.