Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

July 07, 2005 14:30 ET

PIPSC: Increasing Pension Plan Contributions on Eve of Court Challenge-An Outrage say Federal Unions

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - July 7, 2005) - Federal unions are outraged at the government's latest pension money grab. They have joined in solidarity to denounce the unilateral changes to the public service pension plans that will include an increase to pension contributions of 0.3% per year for the next 8 years.

"The government took the surplus from the pension plan to fund early departures and debt reduction, which under any other legislation in Canada would be unlawful. During the 1990s, the government also took a pension contribution holiday, while public service employees continued to pay their share. Now it is claiming that the employees' share is insufficient and that they will have to pay more. There is something fundamentally wrong with this decision which strikes at the heart of the value system shared by all Canadians. It sets a very poor example for the federal government's modernization efforts in which transparency and fairness are at the root of these initiatives," said Michele Demers, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

"The governement is acting prematurely," says Jerome Turcq, Regional Executive Vice-President - Quebec, for the Public Service Alliance of Canada. The actuarial evaluation of the regime is not even current and is has not settled the question of the coordination between the benefits paid by the Public Service Pension Plan and those of the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan. It is utterly unacceptable and nothing can explain the government's will to act today but simple greed," added Turcq.

The unions are deeply concerned that the timing of this announcement is not in the employees' best interests. Federal unions have been in a legal dispute with the government since 1999 over their misappropriation of the pension account surplus. The Superior Court of Ontario is scheduled to hear the case beginning November 15, 2005.

"If the government had not taken the $30 billion surplus from the pension account, there would be no need to increase employee contributions now", said Paul Morse, Co-Chair, Bargaining Agent side of the National Joint Council and Business Manager of IBEW, local 2228.

"The timing is extremely poor at a time when the plan demonstrates a $7 billion surplus. It also comes at a time when contributors and pensioners launched a court action to be heard in November. After six years that we spent preparing the court case of the century, Treasury Board announces that public service employees, contributors to the plan, will pay, irrespective of the outcome of the court challenge. This adds insult to injury", added Paul Morse.

For the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, the news comes at a time when it is seeking to improve the provisions of the pension plan which, as it stands today, penalizes 6,000 correctional officers who work at a job that carries great personal risks. "Proportionally, we are already the group of federal employees that pays the most into our pension and for whom the government pays the least," notes UCCO-SACC-CSN National President Sylvain Martel. "The federal government has already stolen our surplus and now they're coming back for more."

Seventeen federal unions represent 190,000 public service employees. They are: Association of Canadian Financial Officers, Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, CAW Local 5454, Canadian Association of Professional Employees, Canadian Auto Workers, Local 2182, Canadian Federal Pilots Association, Canadian Merchant Service Guild, Canadian Military Colleges Faculty Association, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Federal Dockyard Chargehands Association, Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (East), Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council (West), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2228, Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Research Council Employees' Association, Union of Canadian Correctional Officers - CSN.

Contact Information

    Francine Pressault
    Media Enquiries
    (613) 228-6310, ext. 2228