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The union representing Via Rail Canada Inc. employees has ratified a new agreement that will increase employer contributions for members of the company’s hybrid pension plan.

The new two-year contract covers 1,700 employees at Via Rail and removes age and service conditions that determined the employer match percentage for optional contributions made by plan members under the defined contribution portion of the plan, says Corey Vermey, director of the pensions and benefits department at Unifor.

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“Basically, it set a cap on what the employer’s match obligation was. It was an irritation for members and the employer indicated that most people didn’t make the optional contributions [as a result of the conditions]. That became the focus in bargaining and in the end, we convinced them to get rid of that piece of the defined contribution formula for the hybrid plan.”

The contract also includes a two-per cent wage increase for all workers as well as updates to the benefits plan, which includes increases for life insurance, short-term disability and dental benefits, Vermey says.

In a press release, Martine Rivard, chief employee experience officer at Via Rail, said, “We’re delighted by the ratification of the collective agreements. Our employees are key contributors to VIA Rail’s success, without whom the fulfillment of our mission to put our passengers first would not be possible.”

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