Don't Be Fooled – OECTA Deal is not a Wage Freeze: McKenna
07 August 2012
“Meanwhile the Tim Hudak Conservatives claim the Liberals have already rolled over because under the OECTA deal some teachers will still see salary increases despite Liberal claims of a ‘wage freeze’. On that last bit they’re absolutely right….”
Moira MacDonald, The Toronto Sun, August 5, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Dalton McGuinty continues to misrepresent the English Catholic Teachers’ (OECTA) deal as a “wage freeze” when it is not a wage freeze, Ontario PC Children and Youth Services and Government Services Critic Jane McKenna said today.
“Dalton McGuinty can say black is white until he’s blue in the face,” McKenna said. “But it doesn’t change the facts. And the facts are that the OECTA deal is not a wage freeze. It is also a fact that there is no need for the Liberals to create a political sideshow out of all this by recalling the Legislature when the Minister, under the Education Act, has the power to fix the grid movement fiasco with the stroke of a pen,” McKenna added.
OECTA will give pay increases of $7,000 over two years to 45,700 teachers – 40 per cent of the total – by failing to freeze their salary grid. If used as a ‘template’ for the remaining 400 teachers’ collective agreements, the Education Ministry’s own numbers show a cumulative cost of $438 million over two years as a result. “The three unpaid days off in the deal will save $150 million at most – leaving a $300 million hole in the government’s fiscal plan,” McKenna said.
McKenna said the absurdity of Liberal spin on the deal is shown by the Association’s own website, which states that a grid freeze would have a much higher impact on salaries than a wage freeze alone – and by the government’s own 2012 budget, which stipulates that freezing the salary grid ‘…is necessary if the government is to meet its commitment to balance the budget.’
“Therefore, by its own admission, this government will not come close to balancing the budget by making OECTA the ‘road map’ for all other settlements, because it will cost taxpayers nearly half a billion dollars in higher salaries.”
On the contrary, OECTA – as with so much this government does – is a ‘road map’ to a $411 billion dollar debt: “Because the Liberals’ own budget does not allow for movement on the salary grid, the cost gets tossed straight onto our mountainous $16 billion deficit – which is now even further down the road to an unconscionable $30 billion by 2017 thanks to this government’s reckless overspending, McKenna noted.
“To think that all this could have been avoided had the Liberals supported our Ontario PC mandatory wage freeze bill when it was tabled in May – which includes an across-the-board halt on all public sector salary grid movement. Yet the government foolishly voted it down.
“Instead they have tried to pass off exactly one teachers’ settlement as a wage freeze ‘model’ for 400 others – when it does nothing of the kind – and all at the 11th hour.”