The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to protect pensions and health care benefits of Sears Canada employees and retirees. Sears Canada will pay $7.6 million in bonuses to 43 executives while 2,900 employees are laid off without severance. Like other large multinational corporations, Sears is permitted under Canada’s bankruptcy laws to pay big bonuses to their executives instead of being forced to pay severance of the workers the company has laid-off.
“The pensions earned by workers from Sears Canada are deferred wages, plain and simple.” Said Rosaire L’Italien, Interim Leader of the NB NDP “These pensions are not Sears money, they are the workers’ money. This money was taken off of the workers paycheques to go towards their pensions. Some people have worked there 20 or 30 or more years and have paid into their pensions all along.”
“Diverting, withholding or seizing those funds should be illegal. The current system under the Liberals is broken. The Liberal government needs to stand up for Canadian retirees and stop the organized theft of workers’ pensions.” Added Mr. L’Italien.
Sears Canada, like other large multinational corporations, is using Canada’s inadequate bankruptcy laws to take money meant for workers’ pensions and divert it to pay off their secure creditors, who in many cases, are often their parent companies.
“The Liberals must lead by example and prioritize protecting workers’ pension plans. Workers fulfilled their obligation regarding paying into their pension; companies like Sears Canada must do the same. This needs to be about fairness for workers. We will continue to fight for a New Brunswick that works for everyone and we will make sure corporations and multinationals can’t steal the pensions their workers and retirees have earned.” Said Mr. L’Italien.
The NDP believes that a contract is a contract is a contract. We owe our retirees better than promising a plan for their retirement then reducing it without their input and consent. The NDP’s policy has always been that workers’ pensions, back salary and overtime should be paid before their bosses’ bonuses, dividends and shareholders. It is simply the right thing to do, morally.