WRH Taking Wait and See Approach to Wage Freeze

Staff at Windsor Regional Hospital aren't getting too worked up just yet, after the Ford Conservatives announced a 1% wage freeze in the public sector.

Last Wednesday, the provincial government introduced legislation to cap broader public sector wage increases to an average of 1% a year for three years.

That includes teachers, and staff at post-secondary institutions and hospitals.

Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO, David Musyj says the news wasn't totally unexpected.

"Immediately in advance of the announcement of the budget the government announced they were going to be doing some consultations with unions, post-budget, to talk about wage increases across the province in the public sector," he says. "So it wasn't a surprise something was coming, it was just a surprise that it came."

Musyj tells AM800 News they don't have all the answers yet because a lot of details are still being released but he has flipped through the legislation.

"Even though there is a 1% freeze for three years, they are respecting any existing collective agreements that have been either negotiated or awarded through arbitration," says Musyj. "They're going to respect those and the 1% doesn't start until those collective agreements expire."

Musyj adds the Ontario Hospital Association will be having ongoing discussions with the province to find out what it all means.

"It will start flowing over the next few days and we'll start getting more and more information and the details regarding how it is to be implemented and the impact of it."

There are nine collective agreements at Windsor Regional Hospital that covers 3,000 employees. Musyj says most of the agreements still have two years left on them.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy said last week (June 5) that the bill would ensure that increases in public sector compensation "reflect the fiscal situation of the province."

The Progressive Conservative government is attempting to eliminate an $11.7-billion deficit.