Steelworkers applaud passage of Nova Scotia pension reform



    HALIFAX, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) has applauded
Wednesday's passing of a bill in the Nova Scotia legislature that requires
companies to ensure pension plans are fully funded when plants are closed.
    "The last hurdle is to have the legislation proclaimed into law so that
workers can immediately benefit from the reform," said Marie Kelly, USW
Assistant Ontario/Atlantic Director. "It is critical to former TrentonWorks
Ltd. employees and retirees that the law be proclaimed immediately and before
the company's American owners can sell their property and remove assets from
Nova Scotia.
    "I have received a personal commitment from Labour Minister Mark Parent
that proclamation will occur quickly.
    "Our union has lobbied hard for this change, especially on behalf of our
members at TrentonWorks, who lost their jobs this year when the US-based
owners shut down the century-old railcar manufacturing plant.
    "In addition to the plight of our members at TrentonWorks, this amendment
to the Pension Benefits Act is long overdue for the protection of all workers
in Nova Scotia."
    When Greenbrier Companies announced the closure, TrentonWorks informed
USW members that their pension plan would have a solvency deficiency of about
10 per cent when it was wound up. More significantly, it declared that it was
under no obligation under the Pension Benefits Act to fund that solvency
deficiency.
    "This law, if proclaimed quickly as promised, changes the future for
TrentonWorks retirees as well as all Nova Scotia workers, who deserve
adequately-funded pensions," said Kelly. "It's a disgrace that any employer
can get away with cheating retirees out of a secure pension."
    Kelly added that the USW remains committed to the principle that
well-funded and secure pension plans are an integral component of fair and
equitable compensation packages for working people, both unionized and
non-unionized.
    Once proclaimed into law, Nova Scotia will join jurisdictions such as
Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, which already provide protections for
pension plan members at the time of wind-up.
    "All working Canadians should expect no less," Kelly said.

    The USW represents more than 280,000 men and women working in every
sector of Canada's economy.





For further information:

For further information: Marie Kelly, (416) 705-3627; Wayne Fraser,
(Ontario/Atlantic Director), (416) 243-8792, (416) 577-4045


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