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Province plans wage freeze for public-service workers

TORONTO, Ont. – The province plans to introduce legislation that would freeze wages for Ontario public-service workers who bargain collectively.

One day after the Liberals ushered in a controversial law freezing wages and banning strikes for the province’s elementary and secondary school teachers, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he will target the province’s public-service workers.

In July, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan sent a letter to labour leaders outlining that workers must agree to a wage freeze for two years.

York University recently reached a contract awarding staff six per cent wage increases over three years. Tentatively, the University of Toronto, reached a contract that would include a six per cent wage increase.

“If somebody in an agreement didn’t follow the government’s instructions in my July letter, we may not make it retroactive but we may make it apply to the next round of bargaining,” Duncan said.

He said the legislation must be written to ensure it is fair, equal and can withstand a court challenge.

There are 1.3 million public-service workers in Ontario.

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