Ontario Budget Cuts: Hudak Says Tories Will Introduce Legislation For Public Sector Wage Freeze

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AUSTERITY ONTARIO BUDGET CUTS HUDAK
Ontario Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak pauses during his keynote speach at the party Annual General Meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Saturday February 11, 2012. The Progressive Conservatives plan to introduce legislation to impose an immediate two-year wage freeze on over one million public sector workers in Ontario. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit) | CP

TORONTO - The Progressive Conservatives plan to introduce legislation to impose an immediate two-year wage freeze on over one million public sector workers in Ontario.

Opposition Leader Tim Hudak says the Liberal government's attempts to negotiate a voluntary wage freeze with teachers, nurses, doctors and other public servants simply isn't working.

Hudak says the economic uncertainty created by the weekend elections in France and Greece and Ontario's recent credit downgrade require immediate action from the provincial government.

He says a wage freeze for the broader public sector would save $2 billion for a province facing a $15 billion annual deficit.

Premier Dalton McGuinty says the Liberals' prefer to negotiate with the public sector workers and will only move to impose a wage freeze if talks fail.

McGuinty insists he's not looking for a fight with labour groups, which he says Hudak clearly wants.

Private members' bills rarely become law in Ontario, and it's unlikely the Tories could get any support from the NDP to pass wage freeze legislation against the wishes of the minority Liberals.

Hudak points to Canadian Federation of Independent Business study saying public sector workers get 27 per cent more in pay and benefits than their counterparts in the private sector doing the same work.

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