According to its pension and benefits committee, the City of Regina recently walked away from negations over its civic pension plan.
“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 Regina Civic Pension and Benefits Committee in a statement. “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.”
Benning said an all-day meeting with employers on Aug. 13 indicated they had no interest in coming to an agreement.
City manager Glen Davies was surprised by the statement, saying the employer remains dedicated to meet with the committee at any time.
“We’re disappointed that the employees’ group would suggest that the employers have walked away from the table,” Davies said in a news release. “We weren’t satisfied with the discussions, but we finished the day with the understanding that we would go back to our teams to talk about prospective meeting dates. We don’t understand the statement from the employees’ group.”
Failed negotiations could spell uncertain retirements for as many as 7,000 current employees and pensioners. According to the city, the Regina Civic Employees’ Superannuation & Benefit Plan has a funding shortfall of $240 million and a deficit of as much as $117 million.
The city has shown interest in making the move to a targeted rather than defined benefits pension plan, something the committee considers a sticking point.
According to the employees’ group it has already agreed to reducing the cost of the plan by one quarter and shifting a significant amount of future risk from the City to workers.
“We made serious concessions to the pension plan in order to ensure the plan was financially stable,” Benning said. “Now, instead of implementing the agreed-to changes, we are being told that we may not have a pension plan at all.”
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