February 24, 2016 3:00 pm

City workers will ‘ramp up’ work-to-rule if talks don’t progress: union president

Job stability key issue in negotiation stalemate between city, workers CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire addressed talks between the city and his members on Wednesday, saying that one of the concerns for city employees is protecting 'good', stable jobs.

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TORONTO – A union president says the city’s 23,000 inside workers will “ramp up” an ongoing work-to-rule campaign as labour talks with the city make little progress.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, CUPE Local 79 president Tim Maguire said negotiations are lagging and the two sides remain divided on some critical issues.

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“Talks for some reason have continued to slow,” he said. “We’re here to bargain. Yesterday we waited all day for a response from the city and we’re here to continue working through the mediation process and they’ve continued to slow. We want to continue to negotiate.”

READ MORE: City inside workers begin work-to-rule action as labour talks stall

Union workers began a work-to-rule campaign Monday after weekend talks failed to produce a deal. The city reached an agreement with its outside workers last Friday.

So far, the campaign has aimed not to disrupt services, restricting workers to duties only in their primary job descriptions, as well as taking all mandated breaks and refusing to work overtime.

Maguire didn’t say what form a “ramped-up” campaign would take.

“We will look at areas as we go through this, what tasks under job descriptions don’t need to be done, outside the job descriptions that don’t need to be done,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

Maguire said competitive wage increases and job stability continue to be major sticking points.

WATCH: Stopping short of saying the words, CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire said Wednesday that the proposed wage increase for his members is nowhere close to the increase other groups have received in recent years, including Toronto police, whose budget exceeds $1-billion annually.

“We still want the city to recognize that, yes there are good jobs at the city… but don’t chip away at the good jobs and turn them into precarious jobs, and where the are other precarious jobs at the city… increase stability around those jobs,” Maguire said.

The union represents more than 20,000 inside workers, including employees at child-care centres, emergency shelters and permit offices.

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