Ottawa, ON – Eight members from IAM Local Lodge 1522 will be part of a multi-union contingent lobbying MP’s this week on Parliament Hill to save jobs and the pension plan of workers at the Atomic Energy of Canada facility at Chalk River.
In 2014, the federal government announced the Chalk River facility would be managed by a Government-Owned, Contractor –Operated or GoCo model. It created Canadian Nuclear Laboratories as a subsidiary of AECL. Under this arrangement, the federal government maintains ownership of Canada’s nuclear facilities, but it no longer runs them. Responsibility for the operations, along with the staffing of the facilities is now held by the Canadian National Energy Alliance – the GoCo contractor. As part of this arrangement, the government forfeited control over its employees to the Alliance.
In September 2015, employees were given notice without consultation that they would no longer be able to contribute to their public service pension plans following a transitional period of three years. New employees were to be given no such coverage at all. The agreement signed between the government and the Alliance offers no requirement to maintain a similar standard of defined-benefit pension as currently provided under the Public Service Superannuation Act once the transition is complete.
“Our members are concerned that as of September 2018, they will no longer be able to participate in the public service pension plan,” explained IAM Grand Lodge Representative Gary Hynes. “Under this arrangement, they are no longer considered government employees and will be forced to contribute to an alternative plan imposed upon them by the new operators. There’s uncertainty surrounding the future of this facility, the morale has suffered and new hires can’t get a pension until this is resolved. We’re asking the MP’s to reverse this decision, maintain the current pension plan and give control of the facility back to the government.”