Supreme Court to hear MTS pensioners' appeal
WINNIPEG (October 26, 2012) -- The fight for pension justice at MTS Allstream will continue for our members and retirees before the nation’s highest court after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled it would hear an appeal from unions and retirees fighting the case.
CEP Local 7 has been fighting this case, along with the Telecommunication Employees Association of Manitoba Inc. (TEAM), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and a group of retirees, since the former Manitoba Telephone System (MTS) was privatized in 1997 by the Conservative provincial government of the day.
The parties are battling over a $43.3-million pension surplus that existed at the time the company was controversially changed from a Crown corporation into a publicly-traded corporation. The unions believe a memorandum at the time guaranteed that surplus would be used to enhance pension benefits.
The Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in January, 2010 that MTS Allstream had to repay that amount as well as pay interest dating back to 1997. Estimates were the total cost to the Company would be about $100 million.
However, in February 2012, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned that lower-court ruling, saying there was no breach of the original memorandum of agreement.
The Supreme Court, which does not issue reasons for denying or approving leaves for appeal, announced Oct. 25 that it would hear the appeal from the unions. The case is not expected to be heard until the fall of 2013.