A historic victory for workers and public services as the court strikes down Bill 124: OPSEU/SEFPO

(Reposted from www.opseu.org)

TORONTO – OPSEU/SEFPO is calling it a win for hundreds of thousands of workers as the Ontario Superior Court declares Doug Ford government’s wage-stifling Bill 124 “void and of no effect.”

The decision comes following a court challenge launched by a coalition of unions and associations, including OPSEU/SEFPO, seeking to declare Bill 124’s wage cap unconstitutional. The court found the law violated workers’ right to freedom of association and substantially and unjustifiably interfered with collective bargaining rights.

“This is a historic victory and a further example of what can be accomplished when workers and unions stand together to fight to protect our Charter rights,” said JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President. “Now we’re calling on the Ford government to accept this decision instead of proceeding with an appeal so we can chart a pathway to a solution to the staffing crisis that is plaguing the public sector.”

Bill 124 caps public sector compensation at one per cent, at a time when inflation is at a forty-year high and when public health care is facing a staffing crisis due to Ford’s wage restrictions.

“This is a win for all workers,” said Laurie Nancekivell, First Vice-President/Treasurer of OPSEU/SEFPO. “Our message to this government is to respect the court’s decision, skip the appeal and move forward to fix the underfunding and understaffing crisis in public services.”

OPSEU/SEFPO will pursue all avenues to re-open negotiations that were stifled by Bill 124.

“This is not the first time this government has sought to attack the rights of workers. We need to make it the last,” said Hornick. “Our members—health care workers, education workers, frontline public service workers–deserve a significant remedy after having their rights trampled and after sacrificing so much during the pandemic and long before it.”

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