Unionized workers unlikely to see big gains in 2013

Many sectors still in concession bargaining mode three years after recession ended
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/05/2012

While wages will continue to be the key bargaining issue for management and unions in the new year, workers are unlikely to see significant increases, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s Compensation Planning Outlook 2013.

The annual report projects an average wage increase of two per cent among unionized employees: 1.8 per cent in the public sector and 2.1 per cent in the private sector. By comparison, actual negotiated increases in 2012 averaged 2.1 per cent, with a 1.7 per cent increase in the public sector and 2.4 per cent in the private sector. Overall salary increases last year — including in-range adjustments, merit and step progression — averaged 2.6 per cent, the same as the 2013 projected increase.

“We’re expecting a steady state in line with what we have seen in 2012,” says Karla Thorpe, director, leadership and human resources research at the Conference Board. “Moving forward we won’t see many gains as the economy is slow to recover.”