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TorontoTory house leader, Norm Sterling, is telling bold face lies in comparing the miniscule wage increases received by CUPE members to the obscene 42.2 per cent wage increase for provincial politicians his government is determined to push through the Legislature, says Sid Ryan the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The minister is defending the indefensible. To suggest that a 42.2 per cent wage increase for MPPs can be justified, is the peak of arrogance from a government whose members, including the Premier, are going off on vacation when they should be working in their riding during constituency week.

Last year the Tory labour minister held public sector workers, including CUPE members, to less than a two per cent wage increase. Politicians are public sector workers, but somehow, according to the Tories, different rules apply to them. The house leader is twisting the facts in trying to get a sweet deal for himself and other Tory MPPs, says Ryan.

To set the record straight, most of CUPEs 180,000 members in Ontario received no pay increases for nearly seven years and in recent bargaining have negotiated pay hikes of about two per cent. From the early nineties, the average public sector worker has lost between 10 and 15 per cent in wages when inflation is factored in. School board custodial and maintenance workers received no wage increase this year, because the education minister did not provide school boards with any funding in the spring budget.

CUPE Local 4400, with 14,000 members, now in negotiations with the Toronto School Board have been offered zero per cent over three years.

According to the draft legislation the Tories have devised, MPPs would get a salary and pension increase of $36,794. Thats several thousand more than the yearly salary earned by an average school board worker. Its unconscionable that the minister would even attempt to defend his position by using the wages of CUPE members, who earn moderate salaries, as a comparison.

This is cynical politics and its obvious this government has lost touch with the people of Ontario, says Ryan.


For more information please contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario (416) 209-0066
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications (416) 578-8774

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