Politics
Ontario's public workers to keep severance pay: Union

Premier Dalton McGuinty speaks to media at Queens Park in Toronto January 9, 2013.

Credits: Dave Abel / Toronto SUN

ANTONELLA ARTUSO | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - A tentative agreement reached between the Dalton McGuinty government and thousands of its workers leaves severance pay in place for existing employees but eliminates the benefit for new workers, according to a union update.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents the affected workers, called it a "decent contract in the worst bargaining environment imaginable."

Most non-union Ontario Public Service employees who resign or retire are eligible for "termination payments" of one week of salary for each year of work up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

"After considerable effort, we were able to retain termination pay for existing employees; existing employees will continue to accrue termination pay," OPSEU says in an online update to its members. "Unfortunately new hires will not get termination pay."

The tentative two-year contract - which will be put to a members' vote later this month - also provides a zero salary increase over the life of the deal.

Workers would still be able to move on the wage grid but new hires would see a starting salary that's 3% lower, OPSEU says.

"Yes, there is a two-year wage freeze, which came as a surprise to no one," OPSEU says in its update. "Although your teams tried to negotiate an increase, the government's austerity agenda was widely publicized long before bargaining began. They used it publicly and in the media as the cornerstone of their bargaining agenda with every Ontario public sector worker.

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