Pension plan needs long-term strategy, not quick fix

NSGEU critical of province for not working with union to develop best way to plan for the future.

Halifax (6 April 2009) – The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) is concerned about the province's failure to develop a long-term strategy for the Public Service Superannuation Plan (PSSP).

The union was responding to an announcement that contribution rates will increase on April 12 for members of the plan and for the government. Depending on pay level, rates for plan members will rise by either 1% or 1.3%.

Contributions for employees making $46,300 or less will  increase to 8.4% of salary from 7.4% — up to $463 for the year. Those making more than $46,300 will contribute 10.9% instead of 9.6%. For members making $65,000 annually, the increase will amount to a little more than $700. The government matches all contributions.

 “We have known since last fall that the financial position of the PSSP was worsening," says NSGEU president Joan Jessome.

"Instead of working with us to develop a long-term strategy, the minister, who is the sole trustee, and the department, have been refusing to work with us in developing a long-term approach," she adds.

"We have written to the minister and the department on several occasions requesting a meeting and they have yet to indicate if they are willing to meet with us. Instead, we have been criticized for holding meetings with our members who are in the plan and for releasing what they consider to be inappropriate information which our members are entitled to have.”

Jessome says the union is "not necessarily against an increase in contribution rates" but it should be done as part of a long-term financial strategy developed jointly with those affected.

"At the same time we are opposed to automatically assuming that the only recourse is benefit reductions, especially when it is clear from the Public Service Superannuation Act that the government is responsible for any shortfalls to cover pension payments,” Jessome says.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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