Toronto Mayor David Miller wants non-union employees to give up cost-of-living pay increases this year — and said he’s asking the same thing of every other city employee.
But leaders of the city’s unions — now in contract talks — branded a wage freeze the “wrong remedy for economic ills caused by the recession.”
“Public services have a critical role to play in the recovery, but not through wage erosion,” said Mark Ferguson, who heads Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 416, which represents outdoor workers.
Ferguson said union negotiators are still seeking a wage increase in the three per cent range, similar to those recently received by police and parking authority staff.
Richard Majkot, head of the association representing non-union staff, said his members would accept a two-year pay freeze if unionized workers also had their pay frozen.
Miller touched off the latest pay-raise debate by asking the city’s employee and labour relations committee to freeze cost-of-living increases for non-union employees and limit them to one per cent in 2010.
The mayor’s plan would also scrap merit increases for most employees. Only those eligible for experience-related increases would see their pay rise, providing they met performance standards.
Miller says the pay limits will save about $20 million over two years, which he wants to put in a reserve fund to cover rising welfare costs.