Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says labour unions are engaging in more fearmongering over a one percent salary cap issue.
The Ontario Federation of Labour says the proposed increase is well below the 2018 rate of inflation of 2.4 percent.
OFL President Chris Buckley says the Ford government is again letting workers take the fall for its revenue problems while at the same time giving massive tax breaks to the rich.
Buckley says despite what the Tories claim, there is no fiscal crisis but the salary cap will impact about one million public sector workers.
Sam Hammond, who is President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, says the salary cap tries to handcuff all public sector workers and tramples the ability of unions to negotiate improvements.
Both union leaders say the cap is an attack on collective bargaining.
In response, Fedeli says what the government is doing is not a wage freeze or rollback on wages.
He says it’s a one percent increase everyone gets in the public sector.
“So an average public sector employee who makes $64,000 a year is eligible to receive $1,900 over three years,” Fedeli said.
Fedeli also emphasizes the one percent increase does not stop public sector employees from moving up the salary grid in their respective fields and classifications.
He says employees that fall into this group will see their wages rise by more than one percent.
In response to union claims that public sector workers will fall behind the rate of inflation, Fedeli said, “they have a job and there are no frontline job losses in the plan”.
Fedeli says the one percent increase works out to about $720-million dollars the government is paying out in increases.
He says this includes the public sector, colleges and university employees, school boards, hospitals, the long-term care sector, and various people who belong to the agencies, boards and commissions.
Asked to comment on what the unionized workers are losing under the salary cap, Fedeli said, “it would be fair for me to say this doesn’t impede the collective bargaining process”.