Former workers launch $11-million lawsuit against London Life

Fired workers claim the insurer should pay them the full value of their pension

Former London Life workers are launching an $11-million class-action lawsuit against the company.

The former employees, fired by the London, Ont.-based insurer in 1996, are going after the company for money they claim was not paid into their pension plans. The lawsuit is only the latest step in a 12-year fight.

The group of about 500 workers were aged between 40 and 50 years old with 20 years of service when they were fired more than a decade ago.

When employees are fired or leave voluntarily after a termination notice, they receive a commuted value pension — money paid into the pension plan, plus interest.

A partial plan windup is an enhancement of the commuted value to give the former workers full value for their pension at the time they were let go. London Life did not wind up the pension for those terminated.

The fired workers won a ruling from the pension branch of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario in 2000 allowing them more pension money as part of their partial plan windup. London Life appealed the ruling but it was upheld.

On May 6, the employees won a court ruling defining them as a class and allowing them to proceed with a class-action lawsuit against London Life to go after the surplus money they feel they are owed.

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