Pass pension reform ASAP Steelworkers tell Nova Scotia Law Amendments Committee

    HALIFAX, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) has told the Law
Amendments Committee of the Nova Scotia Legislature that reforms to pension
law need to be made as soon as possible.
    "In addition to the plight of our members at TrentonWorks, this amendment
to the Pension Benefits Act is long overdue for the pension protection of all
workers in Nova Scotia," said USW Ontario/Atlantic Assistant Director
Marie Kelly.
    "Our support for this amendment is rooted in our commitment to the
principle that well-funded and secure pension plans are an integral component
of a fair and equitable compensation package for working people, both
unionized and non-unionized."
    Kelly said it is in workers' interest to know that pensions are regulated
in such a way that ensures they remain viable over the long term.
    "The decision by Greenbrier Companies to close its railcar production in
Nova Scotia and to move its production to Mexico makes the need for strong
legislative protection abundantly clear," she told the committee.
    When Greenbrier announced the closure, TrentonWorks informed USW members
that the 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.
    As it currently stands, an employer is not under any obligation to fully
fund a pension plan at the time of wind-up if there is a solvency deficiency.
    Jurisdictions such as Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta already
provide significantly superior protections for pension plan members at the
time of wind-up than does Nova Scotia. In those jurisdictions, employers are
compelled to fund solvency deficiencies, ensuring that plan members receive
promised benefits.
    "The proposed legislative amendments bring Nova Scotia's pension regime
into the 21st century," said Kelly. "Passing it will ensure that companies
that have the ability to pay will no longer be able to avoid their promised
pension plan obligations."

    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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