REGINA - After calling employees back to the table for pension talks, the City has walked away from further negotiations.
Now the City is saying that it will be writing a submission on its own to the Superintendent to push for a plan that deviates significantly from the signed Letter of Intent.
“Instead of working with plan members to finalize a proposal on dispute resolution, the City has decided to go its own way and turn its back on the work we have done together in the past,” said Kirby Benning, Chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee. “It has made it clear that it does not want to negotiate a timely dispute resolution mechanism or jointly promote the signed deal we have.”
“Leaving everything in the hands of the Superintendent creates an enormous amount of uncertainty for retirees and workers,” said John Gangl, a retired City of Regina worker and member of the negotiating committee. “Working together to implement the negotiated deal is our preferred method of resolving this.”
In May 2013, after years of difficult work and negotiation, the City of Regina, through the employer sponsors, and the plan member side Pension Benefits Committee (PBC) agreed, in a signed Letter of Intent, on a set of substantial changes that cut the cost of the plan by 25 percent and would make it stable, sustainable and affordable for all parties, while still delivering modest defined pension benefits.
When the deal was signed, the parties understood that while they had dealt with the financial aspects of the plan, the provincial regulator had raised a concern about plan governance that the parties committed to resolving.
At the end of 2013, the City abruptly stopped supporting the deal, claiming that the deal could not be implemented by the regulator, in direct contradiction to what it said when the deal was signed. Since the deal was signed, no new correspondence from the Superintendent or the province has been shared with the employee group that would indicate the need for an abrupt change of course.
“The City seems to prefer to make submissions on its own rather than negotiating a joint settlement,” added Benning. “We call on the City to abandon its obstructionism, and to work with employee groups to implement the deal that would save the City money while respecting a modest and decent defined benefit pension for its hard workers – just as it agreed it would.”
Copies of all correspondence with the regulator and the City can be found on www.honourourdeal.ca.