TORONTO – Liberal government cuts to public services and pay equity are widening the wage gap between women and men, the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.
“Premier Kathleen Wynne claims she wants to reduce the gender wage gap in Ontario, and we want her to, but five years of austerity have made the gender wage gap bigger, not smaller,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The public sector, a female-dominated sector, is taking real pay cuts, and the government has stopped funding pay equity for thousands of agencies funded by public dollars.
“If the government is actually serious about narrowing the wage gap, it should stop the wage cuts and start recognizing its human rights obligations under the Pay Equity Act,” he said.
The one area where the government is spending more is pouring billions of dollars per year into men’s wages, further widening the gender wage gap, Thomas said.
“Ontario has committed to spending $130 billion on new public infrastructure over the next 10 years,” he observed. “This is undoubtedly a way to create jobs, including many well-paid jobs, but most of the jobs created in this way will be in construction – a sector whose 325,000 workers are 88 per cent male.
“This government’s overall economic strategy – cuts to public services and pay equity, coupled with more spending on infrastructure – could hardly be better designed to widen the gender wage gap,” said Thomas. “Thanks to Kathleen Wynne, billions in wages are moving out of purses and in to pockets.”
OPSEU’s submission today to the Ministry of Labour’s Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee is available here.
“Our union is in full support of the work of the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee,” Thomas said. “We look forward to continuing to work with committee members.”
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Warren (Smokey) Thomas