The head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council has voiced his opposition to a recent request by public sector pensioners for increased pension benefits.                    

Richard Alexander, executive director of the council, which represents employers across the province, told The Telegram newspaper that the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Sector Pensioners’ Coalition, which represents former government employees, is making unfair demands of the provincial government to increase pension benefits.

“Essentially what they’re asking for is for the provincial government to increase the benefits in their pension above and beyond what was promised to them initially, and that’s obviously at the expense of taxpayers,” he said.

Alexander said the fact that coalition members are receiving benefits from a DB plan indicates they knew exactly how much they would receive from the plan annually upon retirement, and rejected coalition suggestions that the plan was mismanaged by the government.

But Sharon Callahan, president of the pensioners’ coalition board of directors, says the government broke its pension agreement with employees by taking holidays, freezing wages and implementing wage rollbacks, all of which she says impacted the level of benefits employees expected to receive in retirement.

“The money that pensioners paid into a pension fund is a part of their terms of employment with the government. It was an arrangement that was built on trust and certain expectations that the government would match the contributions, that the government would honour its commitment to that arrangement,” she told The Telegram.

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