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Pensioners Of Fraser Papers, AbitibiBowater At Risk Of Losing Some Benefits


December 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) is alerting pensioners of both Fraser Papers and AbitibiBowater that their pensions are at risk during the bankruptcy proceedings of both pulp a…

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) is alerting pensioners of both Fraser Papers and AbitibiBowater that their pensions are at risk during the bankruptcy proceedings of both pulp and paper companies.

At Fraser Papers, more than 1,000 retired paper workers could lose up to 40% of their pension benefits, says the union.

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Fraser Papers, which filed for bankruptcy protection last June, informed the union that it would seek court approval to ‘wind up’ the pension plans of its 1,000 pensioners. The company owes $171 million to its pension plans, which represents a shortfall of up to 40%.

CEP has proposed the establishment of a pension trust that will continue to provide benefits. Creation of the trust would mean that pension plans would not ‘wind up’ but rather, would continue to operate. This requires government support and regulatory approval, but no cash infusion from governments.

CEP is working on creating a trust for AbitibiBowater pensioners who face a similar fate. The union held community meetings across Eastern Canada for at- risk AbitibiBowater pensioners.

“Our retired members are at risk, and in our opinion only government action can protect their pensions,” said CEP national secretary treasurer Gatan Mnard. “At these meetings, we will present the facts to our pensioners and explain what the company and the union have proposed to maintain their benefits while the company restructures.”

CEP and AbitibiBowater have suspended bargaining while they consult governments over the pension issue.


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