Public sector workers now trail private settlements

But both public and private sectors are losing ground when inflation is taken into account.

OTTAWA (19 Aug. 2010) - Private sector workers have pulled ahead of public sector settlements as governments across Canada increase their focus on budget deficits. However, the margin is modest and workers are being constrained in both sectors.

Data released by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada show overall gains among the smallest in a decade and that Canadian households have less disposable income available than previously - after inflation is taken into account.

Gains in the public sector in the month of June averaged just 2% (annualized) for 41,890 employees covered in 10 agreements surveyed. In the private sector, 9,389 workers in seven private sector settlements monitored by the department received average (annualized) increases of 2.2%.

Average wage settlements across both the public and private sectors were 2.2% on an annual basis in June, a fraction above the trend of 2.1% across the first half of 2010.

For the first six months of the year, private sector gains averaged 2.2% compared with 2.0% for the public sector.

The 2.1% overall wage increase for both sectors in 2010 is well below the 2.4% that workers in both sectors averaged last year and just ahead of the decade low of 1.8% recorded in 2004. Pay raises averaged 3% in the years preceding the financial crisis of 2008.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE