As you may have heard, the government has announced a consultation through the Treasury Board on how to “manage Ontario public sector compensation growth.” On Friday, April 26 there was a consultation specifically for OPSEU, which included Executive Board Members and Sector Chairs, and on May 3 there was another just for the post-secondary sector.
The first session began with a government lecture about debt and “unsustainable” wage growth. We believe they are engaging in this consultation to try to insulate themselves against future Charter challenges, although any interference with free and collective bargaining will likely result in labour Charter cases. The entire consultation took 55 minutes.
The consultations should wind up by late May. Overall, for now, I cannot say they will try to open up collective agreements and interfere with current wages or defined wage increases because this would be the clearest kind of Charter violation. It is more likely that they will impose restrictions on future collective agreements or with regulations. I assume some type of direction from the government will be forthcoming prior to the start of bargaining this fall in the provincial school systems. I will keep you updated as additional information becomes available.
On top of the outsourcing of both faculty and counsellors’ work, this is clearly a sign the collective agreement is being scrutinized and provides us with a wakeup call that we need to focus on building strong and engaged locals so we can fight back against further cutbacks that are undoubtedly coming our way.
Finally, CBC News has learned more details about how the Ford government will measure the performance of Ontario’s colleges and universities to determine the total funding they receive. Please see the link below:
Pat Kennedy, President
OPSEU Local 415