Alma, Que. – Members of a union coalition representing 1,150 Rio Tinto Alcan workers have ratified a new, five-year collective agreement and a new pension plan agreement.
“The entire coalition family worked together to reach this settlement. Thanks to the solidarity of coalition members, we can be proud of this result, given the circumstances. We had to put our shoulders to the wheel, but we know that the agreement we negotiated will ensure the long-term sustainability of the pension plan and guarantee a level of pension indexation,” said coalition spokesperson Alexandre Fréchette, President of United Steelworkers (Syndicat des Métallos) Local 9490 in Alma.
Workers will increase their contributions to their pension plan and in return, any surpluses will be dedicated primarily to pension indexing. The employer will have to maintain a minimum level of contributions. A portion of the additional contributions should also help ensure a minimum indexation of pensions. The retirement age will be raised over time from 60 to 61. Pension benefits will now permanently be calculated based on a worker’s last three years of income.
New workers will have an equivalent member-funded pension plan (MFPP). The employer’s contributions to the plan will match those it makes to the current plan and the company will assume the same costs.
“It was very important to us that our young workers not have a lesser, discounted pension plan. We can say mission accomplished. Of course, the risk rests on the shoulders of the workers, but everything else is absolutely the same. Even the calculations were done in a very conservative manner, to avoid any surprises. Respect for intergenerational equity was our priority throughout the negotiations,” said Fréchette.
Although the employer had tried to decrease the life insurance benefit to $10,000 instead of half a year’s salary, the union coalition was able to negotiate a benefit payment of $20,000.
* The union coalition at Rio Tinto Alcan operations includes the Syndicat des travailleurs de l’aluminium d’Alma (Steelworkers Local 9490/Alma Aluminum Workers’ Union), the Syndicat des travailleurs d’énergie électrique nord (SCFP/Electric Energy Workers’ Union – North), the Syndicat des employés des installations portuaires (Unifor Local Union 1946/Union of Port Facilities Employees), the Syndicat Roberval Saguenay (Steelworkers Local 9190/Roberval Saguenay Union).
For further information:
Jocelyn Desjardins, 514-604-6273, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steelworkers/Métallos Local 9490 office, 418-662-7055