Tension in the air for 2012 collective bargaining year

Several years of wage restraint could promote militancy in public-sector unions
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 12/20/2011

An uncertain economy, an interventionist federal government, an aging workforce and a pending shortage of skilled trades.

Together, these factors will make for challenging times at the negotiating table in the new year, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s recently released Industrial Relations Outlook 2012.

The report, written with input from unions and private-sector and public-sector employers, suggests that while a fragile economy will mute some labour demands, austerity measures in the public sector may increase tensions.