PCs slam government over extra 1% wage deal. But 11.5% is OK (for some)!

Ontario Progressive Conservative MPPs attacked a deal that will see provincial public servants get an extra 1% wage increase in 2012.  

``Wouldn't it have been cheaper, acting premier, and more subtle just to stand outside polling stations and hand out cash?'' Progressive Conservative Peter Shurman asked Finance Minister Dwight Duncan in the legislature.

But Sherman adopted a different approach when it came to the proposed City of Toronto deal with its police officers -- a deal that would see a 11.5% wage increase over 4 years.

``What I can say is that we support our police, that we believe they do a job for us, that they have a right to sit down with their employer to negotiate, which apparently they have done.  That's not controlled by the provincial purse.'

Police officers, like hospital workers, are also required to settle contract dispute through interest arbitration.  As reported earlier, the Tories are looking at changing the arbitration process to favour employers more.  

Will those changes also affect police officers? 

If they do attack the arbitration system, it's going to be tricky to avoid -- especially as the PCs have already promised to work with municipalities to fix the arbitration system.   The only employees required to use interest arbitration to settle disputes in the municipal sector are police and fire.  

Finally, the provincial government tried to keep the 1% increase for civil servants (negotiated back in 2008) secret.  In explanation, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said ``This is done by municipalities, this is done by governments all over. I mean, you can't bargain necessarily everything in public.''  

These are words worth bearing in mind the next time the government, or your employer, tells you they can't afford a wage increase.  

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