Image shows Unionized health care workers in Sudbury took part in a lunch hour rally near Health Sciences North Tuesday to call for the repeal of Bill 124 which limits wages and bargaining rights for public sector workers in Ontario.

Unionized health care workers in Sudbury shouted and hollered their disapproval of Doug Ford’s government and Bill 124 at a public rally near Health Sciences North on Tuesday.

The event was organized by OCHU (Ontario Council of Hospital Unions) and CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) and was attended by several Health Sciences North employees who took time off during their lunch breaks at the hospital. Also joining the group were provincial NDP candidates France Gélinas and Jamie West in the Nickel Belt and Sudbury ridings, respectively.

Speakers said Ontario Bill 124, passed by the Progressive Conservatives in the last sitting of the Ontario Legislature, is regressive legislation because it imposes a wage cap of one per cent increase for each 12-month period, over a three-year period. The bill affects workers such as Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and other health care workers in the public sector.

The Ford government said “the purpose of the act is to ensure that increases in public sector compensation reflect the fiscal situation of the province.”

That explanation has not been accepted by the public sector unions, especially CUPE, which has been holding rallies and public protests across the province. The union has argued that with the rate of inflation now running higher (5.7 per cent) than it has in several years, the effect is like a wage cut for unionized workers.

Gélinas told those attending the rally that Bill 124 is a bad law.

“It makes me ashamed to be part of a province that would do this to health-care workers,” she said.

She promised the workers that if New Democrats are elected to form the government, the bill will be repealed.

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