Pension concessions are a massive step backwards for CP employees

Ottawa –Striking CP employees had already made concessions to better fund their pensions in previous rounds of bargaining making the government’s back to work legislation all the more bitter, says Algoma- Manitoulin-Kapuskasing, MP Carol Hughes.   When CP demanded employees accept a reduced pension scheme in the current round of bargaining, they did so with the confidence that legislation was all but guaranteed from this heavy-handed government that has  never once stuck up for the little guy.

Hughes scolded the government for demonizing union workers at every turn and showed how they are the same people who make up our communities and are part of our everyday lives.

“The government seems to forget who unionized workers are. Unionized workers are real people,” said Hughes. “They are our brothers, fathers, neighbours and service providers, that’s who they are.”

The dispute hinges on the company’s plans to dismantle the existing pension fund and put in place a reduced plan, ignoring concessions and other measures the employees had accepted as they built the plan up.

“They paid higher premiums and they gave a concession that they would work longer in order to ensure that they would keep a good collective agreement, which is about to disappear,” Hughes told the House.

Historically, back to work legislation is rare, having only been used 33 times between 1950 and 2011.  This government has set a record using it four times in less than a year, all but ensuring management bargaining teams an easy out in the process.

“Since the last election, we have witnessed over and over again the government abuse its powers to attack workers, workers' pensions and workers' wages by ramming back-to-work legislation through,” said Hughes. “We just have to think of Air Canada and Canada Post. Now it is after CP.”

As she finished her speech, Hughes reminded MPs who she was there to represent and who will be affected by CP retirees with less money in their pocket.

“The people from Chapleau, the people from White River, the people from all over Canada who are working for CP are there because they want to make a living for their families, not because they are just unionized workers,” concluded Hughes.

Hughes was the last MP to speak before voting started on the bill as the government kept the House sitting into the early morning hours in order to rush the legislation through in mere days.