Teachers accept pension deal
Teachers across Newfoundland and Labrador have voted to accept a deal with the Williams government that will freeze their wages, but is expected to shore up their debt-ridden pension plan.
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association voted to accept the deal, which will see $1.95 billion invested into the pension plan.
The NLTA said 87 per cent of its members that chose to vote approved of the deal.
"This puts the pension issue to rest for generations to come," said association president Kevin Foley.
"It was an albatross that was hanging around the necks of the people of this province, and the teachers. And now, it is put to bed."
Foley said younger teachers will not have to worry about whether the profession's pension fund would collapse before their retirement.
The deal will see a wage freeze for the first two years of the contract, which is in line with a recent deal with the province's physicians.
In each the final two years of the deal, teachers will get a three per cent salary increase.
The Williams government decided to advance almost $2 billion – the effective value of its advance on the Atlantic Accord deal on offshore royalty revenues negotiated in 2005 – toward the pension plan.
The teachers' pension plan has been carrying an unfunded liability for years, and was even expected to become bankrupt by 2014.
Premier Danny Williams said last month the offer will ensure the viability of the plan, while also improve the provincial government's long-term financial health.
The deal on the pension plan and wages does not mean contract talks between the NLTA and the provincial government are over.
The NLTA said negotiations will continue later this month on other issues such as workload.