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Workers' wages fall

The beleaguered Liberal Party of Ontario is in a conundrum.  There is increasing pressure from the right for them to attack unionized public sector workers, with both the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star running editorials this week urging the Libs to turn their guns on public sector workers (the Sun papers, needless to say, were already there).

Not coincidentally perhaps, news stories this week appeared highlighting the Liberal government's plan to cut 4,900 public service jobs.

The Libs are going to have to figure out which side they are on, it seems.

For the record, public sector settlements in Ontario are coming in at exactly the same as private sector settlements in 2011 -- 2.2% annual average increases.  This means that, with inflation running at 3.6%, public and private sector workers are losing about 1.4% of their income this year.

Last year, average annual private sector settlements ran a little higher than public sector settlements: 2.1% versus 1.9%.  (This despite the relatively high settlements achieved by public sector police officers, who are often loudly supported by conservative forces  -- who, nonetheless, want to attack public sector workers!).  

With inflation running at 2.5% in Ontario in 2010, public sector workers lost .6% of their income in that year .   Over two years, unionized public sector workers are on track to lose 2% of their income.  Non-union workers who face a wage freeze will lose even more.

Update 3 pm:  The Ontario Ministry of Labour's April figures just came out and they confirm that the annual average settlements for public sector workers  for 2011 remain at 2.2%.   The average for private sector workers for 2011 has fallen back to 1.9%.  They will lose even more of their real wages this year.  

For some, however, workers' wages just aren't falling fast enough


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