CBC imposed an increase on employee contributions to the pension plan on July 1. The Corporation announced its intention in April to peg employee contributions at 40% of annual pension costs in order to generate $5 million in budget savings. The costs to employees are to be phased in over two years; starting this week, an additional $9 to $12 will be withheld on the average employee’s deposit, depending on what province they live in and their pensionable salary.
The CMG and the other unions at CBC have challenged the Corporation’s right to impose the increase unilaterally and we are currently in talks. We believe pensions are part of working conditions and any change needs to be negotiated through the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits (CCSB). Several grievances have been filed. The Guild has reserved the right to file a grievance if a negotiated agreement cannot be reached.
The CBC pension plan is in good financial shape with assets of more than $4.5 billion and benefit rates among the best in the country. The CMG wants to ensure continued health of the plan and to control employee contribution levels.
Right now, employee contributions are fixed at around 5.5% of salary according to a fairly complicated formula. The Corporation’s approach would mean the rate could change every year. The unions want employee contributions to be capped and to remain unlinked from the plan liabilities.
The unions and CBC already have an agreement to share surpluses in the plan, reached in 2008. We are aiming to build on that historic agreement and come up with a negotiated settlement that fits with the longstanding principles on employee contributions while meeting the immediate needs of the Corporation.
Pay will be unaffected for employees who are not in the pension plan.