Monday, 21 April 2008

GTA Clause Skepticism

I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been up to speed on the recent contract dispute between the TTC workers, management and the City of Toronto. All I know is that expectations of a transit strike were widespread and that many of us who depend on it were actively making contingency plans on how to get to work this week.

So after finding out a deal had been reached I happened to read a couple stories on the 11th hour settlement, where one of the key terms - the "GTA Clause" left me puzzled. This clause stipulates that TTC workers would be guaranteed to have the highest wages of all transit workers in the GTA region over the next three years.

For one, the enforcability of how to "guarantee" such a clause is questionable - especially seeing as it's not the province that is footing the bill for the wage increases. A transit worker from York Region or Mississauga might legitimately ask why a transit worker from Toronto is worth more than them. Does the TTC have side agreements in place with other regional transit operators to not raise wages to much? I can't help but wonder what would happen if workers from either of those jurisdictions decided to fight for equal footing with their counterparts in TO.

All in all, I'm happy I can still ride the subways, but will be keeping an eye on developments over the term of this contract. With all the uproar and scrambling of the past week, along with the pre-weekend weigh in by Premier McGuinty - it may also be interesting to see if a more serious effort gets under way for the province to declare the TTC an essential service.

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