Resolute workers stand firm on refusing pension cuts
OTTAWA -- Workers at Resolute Forest Products mills in Ontario and Quebec today demanded that Quebec's pension regulator, the Régie des rentes, and the company reach an agreement to resolve the solvency deficit in the pension plan without any cuts to benefits.
"The company and the Régie must work out a plan in the coming weeks to solve the funding problem for the pension plan. Our members sent a strong message today that we will not agree to any cuts in pension benefits," said Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles.
CEP local union delegates from 10 Resolute mills met in Montreal today to review developments with the company's traditional defined benefit plan covering about 3,500 active employees and 25,000 retirees.
Under the terms of an agreement with the Régie des rentes, the company is obligated to increase its special payments after the solvency ratio for the plan fell in 2011. The company and the pension regulator are currently holding discussions on "corrective measures" to cover a more than $500 million additional deficit, on top of the $1.3 billion pension deficit that the former AbitibiBowater owed when it emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2010.
"The company and the Régie must remember that workers gave up wages and benefits on the understanding that the company would be responsible for the traditional plan without cuts to benefits," said Coles." And we also established a new pension plan for the future which eliminates any risk for the company.
"Resolute and the Régie both have a responsibility now to find a solution that maintains the long-term commitments to our members and retirees."