Forestry union leaders meet with governments to protect pensions

TORONTO, Nov. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Leaders of Canada's largest forestry union and senior officials of Canada's largest forest company, AbitibiBowater, are meeting today at 1pm with Ontario Forest Minister Mike Gravelle and finance department officials to discuss protecting the pensions of thousands of workers.

The delegation, which includes CEP President Dave Coles, Secretary-Treasurer Gaétan Ménard, and Ontario Administrative Vice-President Kim Ginter, is proposing a trust for existing pensioners with government guarantees and regulation changes that would allow current pension benefits to continue. The proposal, when presented to Quebec Labour Minister Sam Hamad last week, met with positive reaction.

The union has also requested a meeting with Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

And it will hold information meetings for pensioners, over the next couple of weeks, at dozens of communities in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

"The union/company proposal provides employees with a guarantee of retirement income, and peace of mind during difficult economic times," says CEP President Dave Coles. "Without it, AbitibiBowater will not have a future in this country. This is a solution that allows governments to solve part of a growing social and economic problem without any cash infusion."

Labour negotiations with AbitibiBowater were suspended last week until the union secures a commitment from governments to help with the pension and restructuring issues.

SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

For further information: For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628 (cell.); Gaétan Ménard, (819) 775-6980 (cell.) or at www.cep.ca

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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