Arbitrator nixes Ontario’s plans for wage freezes
The Globe and Mail reports today on the interest arbitration award of Arbitrator Norm Jesin, who granted 17,000 workers in long-term care homes a 2% wage increase for this year.
The government had hoped to impose a 2-year wage freeze on all public sector workers. However, the arbitrator’s ruling may influence the outcome of other interest arbitration proceedings. The arbitrator held that, in settling wage rates, unions and employers must respond to economic conditions, and not to the government’s fiscal policies. If the government wishes to freeze wages, it can pass legislation to that effect.
Steven Barrett spoke to the Globe & Mail:
The arbitrator’s award reflects the fact that wage settlements have been much more modest over the past year and the government can take some comfort from that, said labour lawyer Steven Barrett.
“The award also confirms that to expect zero increases simply isn’t consistent with fairness or reasonableness,” he said.