For the record, Mr. Marshall has been made aware that public employees did not even have the right to collective bargaining until years after the Public Service Pension Plan was implemented. In fact, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, governments insisted at the bargaining table that pensions were “non-negotiable.” However, it was the policy and practice of successive governments to give public sector pensioners the same wage increases that were negotiated at the bargaining table for public employees.

In 1990, arguing there was no money, government rolled back wages, reneged on negotiated agreements and discontinued the increase for pensioners. Since the late 1990s, unions have successfully negotiated pay raises for public sector workers. Sadly, the practice of giving pensioners a comparable increase was not reinstated. The argument that pensioners did not negotiate indexing or increases has no merit. The argument that there is no money to reinstate or continue the practice of increasing pensions has no validity. The fact is, government does have the money to increase pensions for public sector retirees.

In reality, the issue of increases to public service pensions is not one of a lack of contract provisions but rather an unwillingness of government to treat its retired employees with fairness and dignity. Mr. Marshall is aware that if government wants to negotiate indexing of pensions, NAPE’s door is always open.

Carol Furlong, President
Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees