Nfld. & Labrador

Where pension savings go at Kruger 'big stumbling block' for workers

A pensioner committee at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper says unless the money will be going back into the mill, workers won't agree to modify Kruger's pension payment.
Kruger Industrial, parent company of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, sent a notice to workers and retirees in May asking for support in petitioning the provincial government to temporarily modify payments the company makes to the pension plan. (CBC)

Pensioners with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper are in meetings this week with Kruger to discuss the company's proposal to modify pension payments over three years.

The company sent a notice to active and retired workers last month, asking to change the amount the company is putting into the pension plans.

However, Gerald Parsons, head of the pension committee, said he wants to know where those savings would be going before the workers agree to anything.

"We couldn't get a handle on exactly where the money was going to go to so that's the big stumbling block we got right now," he said.
Gerald Parsons says the pension committee is advising workers not to accept the offer from Kruger currently on the table for proposed pension payment changes. (CBC)

"What's on the table we were close to using it, but the mill money, we wanted to know what was going to be done in the mill with this money because we know: the mill runs, our pension is safe."

The proposed modification to payments would see Kruger save $15 million over three years, which isn't a huge amount considering the company still owes the pension fund $76 million.

Parsons said negotiations have been going on for nearly two months now.

"They had an offer on the table when they came in the first time and they came a long ways with it, they came back with two more offers," said Parsons.

"We were getting close to the offers that were on the table and one of the biggest concerns that we had is that we wanted the money to go back into the mill."

He added the committee is not telling its members how to vote, but is recommending not to accept the offer currently on the table.

"We were getting close and we might have had something on the table that we could go back to our people and say, 'Yes it's good and you go vote for it,' but right now we are not recommending it."

Objections to the current proposal have to be sent in to Kruger by July 8.

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