HEU to oppose move to cut benefits for 36,000 retirees covered by B.C.’s biggest pension plan

News release

The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) says it’s strongly opposed to plans being considered that would significantly cut benefit provisions for more than 36,000 retired health care and municipal workers and is encouraging both pensioners and workers currently enrolled in the Municipal Pension Plan to attend the organization’s annual general meeting on November 2.

“What the Campbell government is doing to retired people is unconscionable,” says HEU spokesperson Chris Allnutt. “By delisting medical services and increasing drug costs for seniors a year ago, Campbell has offloaded the costs for his lavish tax cuts for the rich and powerful onto the backs of pensioners of modest means,” he said.

“It’s cruel medicine for public employees who’ve made a lifetime of pension contributions as they worked to deliver quality public services for British Columbians.”

“What really gets us angry,” says Allnutt “is that these cuts are just the tip of the iceberg for seniors covered by the plan. As the Liberals move to offload a further $400 million in drug coverage costs on to the backs of B.C. seniors, families and pension plans, what’s coming down the pipe is truly frightening.”

Allnutt acknowledges that the joint employer-union trusteed pension plan has done its best to minimize the impact of the benefit cuts on retirees. But, he says retirees will still face economic hardship.

He added that Municipal Pension Plan’s general meeting this Saturday will give pensioners and enrollees an opportunity to make their views known to the plan’s Trustees and government.

The meeting will be held in Vancouver and simultaneously by teleconference in other B.C. communities. Details are available at www.heu.org.

With $15 billion in assets, the Municipal Pension Plan provides pension coverage for a variety of public sector workers in municipal and school board services, health care, and fire and police.

-30- Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)