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Teachers' unions launch charter challenges

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TORONTO—Ontario's four major teachers' unions say they are launching charter challenges today to a law capping public sector wage increases.

The unions, which represent both elementary and high school teachers in public, Catholic and French boards, say it violates their collective bargaining rights.

The Progressive Conservative government passed the law as contract talks were just starting, and the unions say it was an extraordinary interference in the bargaining process.

The law caps all public sector salary increases at one per cent per year for the next three years.

But Liz Stuart, the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, says the timing of the legislation suggests it specifically targets teachers.

The government has said the wage cap bill respects the bargaining process, noting it still allows for employees to get raises for seniority, performance or increased qualifications.

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