As you all know by now, we have signed a 5-year salary settlement with scale increases of 0, 0, 3, 3, and 3 percent for the period 1 May 2010 to 30 April 2015. The annual merit increases will be processed as usual in all five years.
This round of salary negotiations has been very difficult due to the Government’s excessive interference in the public sector collective bargaining process. Although we are clearly exempt from the legislation (Bill 16), no path could be found to steer clear of the Government’s wage restraint plan, which is not just for 2 years but rather for 7 years. The Government’s plan, laid out more clearly in August during the so-called “consultations” with the public sector, indicates that after the initial 2 years of wage freeze, there is a further restraint period of 5 years planned at 0.7% per year. Therefore, in this environment, we decided that locking in a sufficiently long period at 3% per year after the initial hit would be a reasonable course of action.
I shall make no attempt to sugar-coat the two zeros up front. However, as it becomes apparent from an inspection of the attached salary table, the overall situation is not as bleak as it may appear at first glance. This table contains five-year projections for salaries from $70K to $170K based on ‘average’ annual performance. Since the PTR/merit amounts are not known exactly ahead of time, these are inherently estimates based on recent statistics. I note that a faculty member making $125K (approximately the average salary at University of Waterloo) will receive the following salary increases effective May 1st of each year, 2010 to 2014: 2.6%, 2.5%, 5.4%, 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively, which translate to a compounded average salary increase of 4.5% per year. How much of this will be eaten away by inflation is anybody’s guess, but perhaps we can take some solace in the Bank of Canada’s determination to hold inflation in the vicinity of 2% as much as its powers permit. So far in 2010, the seven months of available data indicate an average total inflation of 1.6% and an average core inflation of 1.8%.
Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo chief negotiator