Toronto outside workers offer wage freeze

Offer tabled day after city claims negotiations at impasse

The union representing Toronto outside city workers says it will accept a wage freeze for its 6,000 members.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 416 president Mark Ferguson says the wage freeze would save the city $8.5-million in one year and $25.5-million over three years of the contract.

Ferguson made the announcement joust one day after the city declared an impasse in contract negotiations. The city asked the province for a “no board report” in its dispute with Local 416, which means the city and union will be able to strike or lockout in 17 days from the report being issued.

“We feel that this is a hasty decision,” said Ferguson. “It leaves us asking why the city is in such a rush to declare negotiations are at an impasse.”

The two parties are currently negotiating a new contract for the workers whose previous agreement expired on Jan. 1. The city wants to eliminate certain job security provisions in the contract that make it difficult to reduce the workforce.

Ferguson previously suggested his members would be seeking little or nothing in pay hikes, saying the union was aware tough economic times would make an increase difficult. Local 416 has also indicated it has no plans to strike.

The city is continuing its talks continue with its 23,000 inside workers, represented by CUPE Local 79.

The 2,300-member Toronto Public Library Workers Union are expected to start negotiations with the city soon.

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