Legislation restricting wages continues the government’s attack on workers, says Ontario Federation of Labour

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Ontario Federation of Labour

The government of Ontario has tabled a Bill to limit salary increases to a rate well below inflation. This is another example of the Conservative’s continuing attack on the workers of Ontario. Never in Ontario’s history has this type of legislation been introduced.

“The announcement of a cap on wage increases is the government letting workers take the fall for its revenue problems once again. This government has cancelled cap and trade, given massive tax breaks to the rich, is spending billions cancelling contracts like the Beer Store, and has the audacity to cry poor,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “One of the first things this government did was cancel the $15 minimum wage for low-wage workers. Workers are the backbone of this province but our government continues to hurt them to provide billions in tax cuts to big business and the wealthy.”

Collective bargaining is a democratic right. This government is imposing an outcome on workers before collective bargaining has even begun.

“This bill takes the continuing attack on workers to a new level – the public service, leaving public service salary increases well below the rate of inflation, which was 2.4 percent in 2018. The PCs are trying to dismantle our public services piece by piece,” said Buckley. “There is no fiscal crisis. The government is chronically underfunding the programs and services families rely on, making plans for further privatization and contracting out, and now, with this Bill, setting the stage to undermine decent working conditions in the public sector.”

One million workers will be affected by this legislation.

“This legislation leaves families falling behind the cost of living and undercuts the democratic rights of workers who bring us the services we all depend on. It will weaken public services across the board, undermine decent working conditions in the public sector, and hurt the economic growth of our province,” said Buckley.

On May 28, elected representatives of more than one million Ontario workers released a solidarity statement in regard to legislation that would undermine collective bargaining rights and the government’s continued reductions in worker rights across the province.

“We commit to protect public services,” reads the statement. “We commit to defend free and fair collective bargaining. We commit to mobilize our memberships across the province, in partnership with our community allies, and with all Ontarians, in opposition to policies of cutbacks and privatization. As we go forward, the resistance to the cuts and attacks on workers’ rights will only intensify.”

June 7, to mark one year since the Conservative government was elected in Ontario there are more than 50 actions across the province including rallies, information pickets, marches and teach-ins to protest government cuts.

Power of Many is a campaign by the Ontario Federation of Labour and its allies in communities across Ontario, working together to protect and win decent work laws, strong public services, along with equality and justice, as well as safe and healthy communities for all.