Brink’s Canada Ltd. employees are pushing back again the company’s proposal to move them from a defined benefit pension into a defined contribution plan.

The pension change is one of the central issues prompting members of Unifor to vote overwhelmingly to strike. In Ontario, 800 union members have voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate. In British Columbia, 300 members of Unifor Local 114 have voted 95 per cent in favour. 

While the company hasn’t provided the union with any significant details about the pension proposal, Unifor’s national representative, Mike Armstrong, says employees don’t like the change. “Because what happens at some point, if we were foolish enough to go down that road, if you get more people in the DC plan, the employer can wind up the DB plan,” he says.

“This is more of an ideological philosophy than anything else. Get rid of the DB plan, that’s what it’s all about,” he adds.

Read: Postmedia benefits changes include closure of DB pension, EAP

Armstrong suggests Brink’s Canada’s defined benefit pension is in good financial health. It has run a $16-million surplus in the past three years and is 90 per cent funded on a going-concern basis, he says. “And interest rates have gone up [twice] this year, so we’re in good shape,” he says.

Negotiations between Brink’s and its union are scheduled for this week in British Columbia and early October in Ontario.

Brink’s Canada didn’t respond to Benefits Canada‘s requests for comment.

Read: General Mills to close DB pension to U.S. staff

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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