Liberals strike wage-freeze deal with Catholic teachers

The governing Liberals have reached a new labour deal with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association.

Education Minister Laurel Broten says the union, which represents 45,000 teachers, has agreed to a two-year deal with no salary increase.

It's the first teachers group to break ranks with other unions, who have refused to negotiate after they were told their wages would be frozen.

"Many people thought that this day would never come, that we would never agree, that we were too far apart," Broten said. "But this agreement demonstrates the value of partnership."

The Liberals are trying to get workers in the broader public sector to accept a wage freeze as they battle a $15-billion deficit.

Broten said this deal will serve as a "road map" for bargaining with all of the other boards.

"The agreement shows the direct path to preserve our educational priorities while meeting our clear fiscal parameters."

They've said they'll legislate the freeze if all other options fail.

McGuinty has said his government will work as hard as it can to secure agreements before school starts in September.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers contract gives the province a one-time savings of $1.4 billion and $250 million in savings in 2013 and $540 million in the following year, Broten said.

The teachers will no longer be allowed to bank sick days, and their allotment of 20 sick days a year is cut to 10, Broten said.

Three unpaid "professional development days" in the second year of the contract will amount to a 1.5-per-cent pay cut.

Liberals strike wage-freeze deal with Catholic teachers - Toronto - CBC News