NSGEU releases details of breakthrough pension agreement

'A historic turning point for hospital workers’ and long-term care workers’ retirement income security.'


Halifax (9 Nov. 2006) - The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) has released details of a breakthrough pension agreement negotiated last month by five unions following a prolonged dispute with the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations (NSAHO).

"The agreement ... marks a historic turning point for hospital workers’ and long-term care workers’ retirement income security," the union says in a statement on its website.

"The funding and other commitments contained in this deal will mean an immediate end to employer contribution holidays, vital surplus security, and a meaningful opportunity to make structural changes to the plan’s governance and decision-making structures."

Over the past 10 years, hospital employers have confiscated some $58.5 million in fund surpluses to make a portion of their required contributions to the plan.

Payback time

Not only will their pension holiday end, the employers are committed to contribute an additional 1.4% of payroll to the plan, a legal requirement worth some $10.6 million in the first year and $11 million in the second.

"Within six years, this stream of payments will inject nearly $70 million into the plan, and the total value of past contribution holidays will have been returned to the plan members," the union says.

"After that, the new funding commitment will be a net and ongoing gain to plan members, and is expected to allow significant benefit improvements. Any further cost increases will be equally shared by employers and plan members, leaving the employer with a permanent obligation to contribute 1.4% more than the employees - unless the cost of running the plan actually declines."

The agreement is subject to the ratification of new contracts with two of the five unions involved in the negotiations. Provincial health care employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) were in negotiations with the province for new collective agreements for their members at the time the settlement was reached.

Full details of the pension agreement are available at the link below. NUPGE

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