A quiet year on labour front

Employers looking for collaboration with unions but provincial public sector might not find it.
By David Brown
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/07/2001

Most Canadian unions feel they are holding all the cards in a tight labour market and therefore will be looking to make up for a decade of declining wages, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

Despite the demands for higher wages, the year will be marked by relative labour stability as employers seek more collaboration with unions rather than confrontation. Of the 179 unionized organizations surveyed for the study, 91 per cent don’t expect to face a strike this year.

With the balance of bargaining power swinging to unions they are apt to be asking for three per cent increases in most cases. Though in some low-wage sectors like hospitality, labour negotiators will likely be looking for more than that. In 2000, unionized workers managed to win an average 2.5 per cent increase, the largest in eight years. In 1999, the average increase was just 1.9 per cent.