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Public sector wages lag private sector



Conservatives often suggest that public sector settlements are out of whack with private sector settlements.

In fact, the evidence from Ontario over the last couple of decades proves the opposite. Public sector settlements have fallen behind private sector settlements.  Here is the data from the Ontario Ministry of Labour:

Percent increase
Annual average  increase Public Sector Settlements
Annual average increase Private Sector Settlements
1990
6.8%
6.3%
1991
5
4.6
1992
2.6
2.7
1993
0.5
1.9
1994
0.1
1.1
1995
0.2
1.7
1996
0.3
2.2
1997
0.7
2.3
1998
1.3
2.1
1999
1.4
3.1
2000
2.7
2.4
2001
2.9
3.0
2002
2.9
3.0
2003
3.5
1.9
2004
3.1
2.7
2005
2.7
2.4
2006
3.0
1.7
2007
3.1
2.9
2008
3.1
2.0
2009
2.4
1.3
2010
1.9
2.0
2011
1.6
1.9
2012
1.2
1.4
Average
Annual Wage Settlement
2.3
2.5

Annual public sector wage increases averaged 0.2% less than the private sector settlements.  While that does not sound like too much, over 23 years it adds up to a significant difference.  

And what about the idea (promoted by the Progressive Conservatives) that settlements for health care workers who are required to settle bargaining disputes via interest arbitration are also out of line?  

Again, the evidence suggests otherwise.  The average annual wage increase for Ontario hospital service and office workers over this period comes in at 2.2%.  This is just under the public sector average annual wage settlement of 2.3%. 

Photo: Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications

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