CORNER BROOK — The Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Union Pensioners Committee will be meeting with retired mill employees next week to update them on proposed changes to their pension plan.
Spokesperson Gerald Parsons said there are roughly 500 pensioners from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper and its predecessor, Bowaters, who will be affected by the changes parent company Kruger Inc. is proposing.
He said the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has granted Kruger the right to seek the permission of pensioners to change the funding of their pensions.
He declined to discuss the proposed changes until the group has a chance to speak with pensioners next Monday and Tuesday.
“This has been going on now for a while, and we’ve got to get to our pensioners now and tell them what’s going on there,” said Parsons.
“Right now we don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but there’s people out there quite concerned about it.
“The changes that they’re trying to make are not nice changes,” said Parsons.
He said since the group was formed in February, pensioners have been calling the 12 members, mostly past-presidents of the various unions in the mill, on a daily basis.
Parsons said the pensioners are concerned because no one can afford to lose any money.
“We worked for our pension,” he said. “I paid my share into that pension plan for 40 years.”
Parsons was able to retire at the age of 57 because of contract changes that made that possible.
“I went out with a pension that I based on that for the rest of my life, hopefully.”
Since forming, the group has met with Finance Minister Tom Marshall and is stilling waiting to meet with Marshall and Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy.
This past Friday the group was supposed to meet with a government pension expert, but that meeting was cancelled. Parsons hopes it can be rescheduled before the meetings with the pensioners.
He’s also hoping to get some more concrete information and guarantees from Kruger on what the company is asking pensioners to do.
Parsons said the group has a meeting set with a pension expert from Kruger for Friday. He said this woman will also provide the group with details from a 2009 report on the pension plan.
The sessions with pensioners will be held at the Elks Lodge on Monday and Tuesday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.