MONTRÉAL, March 7 /CNW Telbec/ - After arduous negotiations, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) has agreed to a tentative agreement with AbitibiBowater to renew the collective agreement. This deal fulfills an essential condition towards the emergence of the company from the current restructuring process.
"We have the best possible agreement, given the precarious financial condition of the company", says CEP President Dave Coles. "We are proud to have been able to protect retirees and to have created a new stable pension plan for the active workers. Our members will no longer have to fear the shadow of an insolvency of their plan".
The company took off the table its proposal to terminate the pension plans, which would have reduced pension benefits by an average of 25%. Provincial government will now bear the responsibility to adopt the appropriate regulatory changes to allow the company to financially fix the pension plans.
However, the union is furious at the total lack of help shown by the Conservative government to the forestry workers. "It is our members who had to make sacrifices to save the company from bankruptcy", says Dave Coles. "The last federal budget fully demonstrated the contempt of this government for forestry workers. It is now clear for our workers, our retirees and our communities that the Conservatives have abandoned them".
This agreement covers about 4,500 workers and 8,000 retirees from 23 AbitibiBowater locals at 12 pulp and paper mills in Eastern Canada.
SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
For further information: For further information: Dave Coles, CEP President, (613) 299-5628