Three trades in Ontario’s ICI sector – rodworkers, painters, and tile and terrazzo – are reported to have reached tentative contract agreements with their employers that include wage increases of about 9 per cent over three years in each case. The electrical sector settled for an 8.6 per cent wage increase over three years this past February, and the Ironworkers achieved a 9 per cent raise across the province over three years with a 0.5 per cent premium for Toronto workers in March.

On Wednesday, Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher, lead for the Local 793 Provincial Collective Agreement Negotiating Team, pointed to the raises negotiated by the Electrical Workers and Ironworkers and noted inflation has continued to creep up since those deals were signed.

“The IBEW one is nowhere near acceptable,” Gallagher said. “The Ironworker one we still think is low, but there’s other provisions in the agreement, like travel costs and other things that we can’t ignore.”

Statistics Canada announced that inflation hit 6.7 per cent per year in March, jumping above the 5.7 per cent increase recorded for February and the 5.1 per cent spike registered for January. Local 793 negotiators are continuously watching forecasts to determine how long inflation will continue at its current high level, Gallagher said, including speculating on whether interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada will help bring inflation under control.

“At the end of the day, our job is to represent our members and to help them get something so they can pay the bills after we’re done negotiating here, because it’s really, really tough right now,” Gallagher said, referring to the March inflation numbers.

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