|January 21, 2000||Volume 7, Number 9|
Out-of-court settlement will end long pension battle
Years of squabbling and uncertainty over the fate of the University of Saskatchewans Academic Pension Plan appear to be over, with the announcement that a tentative out-of-court settlement has been reached between the U of S and its retirees.
As On Campus News went to press this week, negotiations to settle the pensioners lawsuit against the University over its plan to split and revise the pension plan had resulted in a draft agreement.
Tony Whitworth, U of S Vice-President for Finance and Resources, said on Jan. 18, "negotiations to settle the litigation on pension reform appear to be moving to a conclusion."
Whitworth said final details of an agreement were being worked out, with a deadline of Jan. 28 set for conclusion of the agreement.
"All parties to the dispute have shown some flexibility in arriving at a potential settlement package," Whitworth said.
He added that the trial, originally set to start Jan. 17 in Saskatchewan Court of Queens Bench, was adjourned to allow the parties to continue their talks aimed at settling out-of-court.
Whitworth said that, subject to a final resolution of the legality of the Universitys "P-67" proposed amendment to the pension plan, "the next steps following splitting of the current plan would be to give active members the option to choose a money-purchase plan, effective Jan. 1, 2000."
Last Sept. 28 Justice Ross Wimmer issued a court injunction which prevented the University from making any changes to the Academic Pension Plan until a suit by pensioners challenging a planned split of the Plan was heard.
The pensioners had filed the lawsuit just days after the U of S Board of Governors voted Sept. 23 to give final approval to splitting the current Academic Pension Plan into one for active members and one for retirees with the active members having the further option of choosing to stay in a "defined-benefit" plan or opt into a "money-purchase" plan.
The pensioners leader, retired Assoc. Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture, Doug Knott, says his group had "no other option" than the lawsuit because the University wouldnt negotiate the issue.
There had been suggestions the split of assets for the new plans would provide an inadequate amount for pensioners who retired from the existing defined-benefit plan.
The University contended the amounts, based on recommendations of expert Dr. Eileen Gillese, are considered sufficient.
After the launching of the suit, the U of S Faculty Association, the Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association (ASPA), and the Post-1993 retirees group were all granted status as co-defendants, along with the University.
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