The Canadian Union of Public Employees has served notice to the province of New Brunswick that is wants to intervene in a lawsuit against incoming changes to public service pensions.
The lawsuit, which was filed in February 2016 by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, argues that a new shared-risk pension plan, which was adopted in December 2013, for the province’s civil servants is unconstitutional, “as it violates the s. 2(d) of the Constitution by preventing free and fair collective bargaining over an important term of employment (pension).”
The institute said in a news release that it has grown increasingly concerned with the security, affordability, transparency and equity of the shared-risk plan. CUPE agrees, saying the change “significantly reduced” pension benefits, the security of benefits and barred any collective agreement provisions that could improve pension benefits in the future.
“The rights of CUPE members and many other public sector workers were violated when the government unilaterally imposed pension changes on workers, in violation of their right to free collective bargaining,” said Daniel Légère, president of CUPE New Brunswick, in a statement. “CUPE fully supports this court challenge and will intervene to defence our members’ rights.”
“We welcome our CUPE colleagues as they join our case,” said Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, in a statement. “This is a great day for every New Brunswick worker who hopes to retire in dignity. It’s a great day for defending the rule of law and respect for our country’s constitution. And it’s a great day for solidarity among unions.”