Defined contribution pensions raise union ire

DB plans are "critically important," says union
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/20/2004

If the labour dispute at Air Canada is anything to go by, companies should expect union opposition to attempts to move from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans.

Unions representing Air Canada employees were hostile to airline suitor Trinity Time Investments’ desire to introduce a DC pension plan the moment it was put on the table. Trinity proposed to put new hires and employees whose age and service total less than 60 years under a defined contribution plan. Older workers would remain under Air Canada’s existing defined benefit plan.

At Bell Canada, an attempt to put new workers on a defined contribution plan will likely become the main issue at the bargaining table, said Sean Howes, national representative of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.