Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Judge to review amended agreement tomorrow

This is the latest message posted on the NRPC website. So tomorrow the judge will review the amended agreement and issue a decision.
I hope he doesn't take 3 weeks to decide like last time.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Our legal representatives met with Judge Morawetz today, March 30th, to advise the judge that they had signed a new settlement agreement without the H2 clause to which he had objected. A motion to approve the new deal will be heard by the judge on March 31st. See the Koskie Minsky LLP website for further detail: http://www.koskieminsky.com/Case-Central/Overview/Status-Of-Case/?rid=107.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 March 2010 )


  1. Re: "I hope he doesn't take 3 weeks to decide like last time."

    Approval is in the bag and will be granted today, over the objections of the disabled.

  2. The following article is from CNews at this weblink:

    31 March 2010 - Disabled Distraught Over Nortel Settlement By SCOTT TAYLOR, QMI Agency

    OTTAWA - Nortel disabled employees are reeling as a $57-million settlement they have been fighting is on the verge of being accepted -- minus a crucial clause that would've given them priority treatment if the feds change bankruptcy laws.

    That clause, known as H2, gave them hope they would recoup their lost benefits ahead of other creditors. Without it, they'll have to stand in queue battling over what remains of the company.

    The disabled employees have been fighting their own court-appointed law firm since late February when the settlement, which then included H2, was announced. It allows nearly 20,000 current and former employees to continue to receive benefits and income until the end of the year, while taking away their right to sue the company, trustees and directors over missing funds in a trust account. Benefits were due to expire Wednesday.

    Last Thursday, Sen. Art Eggleton tabled Bill S-216, which, if passed, would re-classify the 400 workers on long-term disability as "preferred" creditors, rather than "unsecured," thus putting their claims second in line for the remains of the company.

    It has passed a first reading and will be given a second reading this week.

    However, Judge Geoffrey Morawetz, who is overseeing the dismantling of the company, has struck H2 from the original agreement saying it's unfair to other creditors.

    "Without this clause (the disabled workers) will be on the same low level as other unsecured creditors. It flattens everyone out to being equal," said attorney Joel Rochon, who was hired by the employees to fight the agreement. "It's a bad deal made worse."

    Rochon will be in a Toronto court Wednesday trying to have H2 restored.

    "It's counterproductive to strike this clause down when politicians are changing the law," he said. "We will object to this as being patently unfair."

    Disabled employee Josee Marin said she was shocked.

    "I'm shaking, I'm so enraged," Marin said. "I thought it would be a day of celebration, but it's a day of sadness. We're now facing abject poverty for the rest of our lives."

    The majority of the pensioners approve of the original settlement, but many disabled employees aren't able to find new jobs and rely on their current benefits.


  3. It is interesting that Judge Morawetz waited until late Friday 26 March to reject the settlement agreement that contained the H.2 clause.

    The senate Bill S-216 (see above comment) was introduced on Thursday 25 March 2010.

    The following article reports on a new NDP Bill C-501. that was introduced on Friday 26 March 2010.

    NDP tables bill to amend Bankruptcy Act
    By BRYN WEESE, Parliamentary Bureau

    OTTAWA — The NDP wants pensioners of companies going bankrupt to be first in line for the assets.

    John Rafferty, the NDP MP for Thunder Bay, tabled a bill Friday to amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to move pensioners ahead of the banks as the first to get their money.

    “These pensions are not fringe benefits. These are deferred wages that workers have put aside so that they’ll have something put aside for their retirement,” said NDP leader Jack Layton Tuesday, when 19,000 Nortel pensioners were told their benefits would be protected only until the end of the year, when the courts would decide how the company’s assets are divvied up.

    “When companies go bankrupt and restructure, these companies are taking these unpaid wages and using them to pay off other creditors first. You could practically call it theft.”

    Liberal Senator Art Eggleton tabled a bill in the Senate last week to amend the bankruptcy act for long-term disability recipients, making them “preferred” creditors, and making them second in line for assets from companies going belly up.

    Both Layton and Eggleton are hopeful their respective bills will become law this year.

    Industry Minister Tony Clement said Tuesday during Question Period the government does “welcome” input on these “very important issues,” and that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has launched a Canada-wide “consultation” on the pension system as it relates to the bankruptcy act.



  4. I hope the existing 12,000 pensioners are proud of what they have done to the 400 people on LTD by directing their council Koskie-Minsky to proceed with the deal without the clause.

    By pushing this deal they ensure themselves 8 more months of health insurance and maybe 8 more months of pension at 100% payout. They got this at the expense of the LTD folks future after Dec 2010. .... shame

    The pensioners may also very well have given up any improvements they could have acheived by FEDs making CCA changes. How short-sited.

  5. Nortel pension deal approved

    Last Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | 4:12 PM ET Comments0Recommend0
    CBC News

    Two groups representing former Nortel Networks employees say their members will have their health, pension and long-term disability benefits extended thanks to an agreement with the bankrupt company approved by Ontario Superior Court Wednesday.

    A new $57-million agreement, reached on Monday, preserves benefits until the end of 2010 for roughly 20,000 pensioners; former employees who have been laid off and not yet received severance; and employees on long-term disability.

    It also continues funding of pension plans until September 2010.

    The Nortel pension plan was to expire Wednesday and cut off the benefits of former employees.

    The two groups that have been representing former employees and pensioners in talks with the bankrupt telecommunications company are Nortel Retirees and Former Employees Protection Canada (NRPC) and Canadian Nortel Employees on Long Term Disability. They said on Wednesday that the court has approved the new agreement although the decision has not been officially announced.

    Last week, the judge overseeing the restructuring of the once-mighty technology company rejected an earlier deal that included a clause that would have allowed former employees to take advantage of future changes to federal bankruptcy laws to increase their benefits.

    The new deal took that clause out.

    Nortel declared bankruptcy in January 2009 and has been in a process of major restructuring since then, selling of its wireless divisions and other major assets.

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/03/31/ott-nortel-pension.html#ixzz0jmwvZrZU

  6. Just to complete the story, here is......

    NRPC's Plan B

    Settlement Agreement Approved
    Wednesday, 31 March 2010
    Judge Morawetz today approved the amended Settlement Agreement which will postpone the loss of benefits and pension cuts until later in the year as well as provide a small payment to those owed severance. Importantly, it prevents the immediate wind-up of the pension plan which would have meant permanent, worst-case cuts for current and future pensioners. This is just a step in the process. Now we must convince the federal politicians to give us justice by amending the bankruptcy laws retroactively and the Ontario government to establish a Pension Agency to run abandoned pension plans rather than the costly path of using annuities. See the press release under News / Media News.
    Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 March 2010 )


  7. I HAVE BEEN AN EMPLOYYEE FOR MANY YEARS ONE OF THOSE EMPLOYEES ON LTD, FOR A SHORT TIME. I is amazing how an Empire could fall, all because of badmanagement, and the big bosses taking there big fat bonuser at the top, what I wonder when all is settled down, what is going to happen, Will we still have a pension , and any sort, When I srarted back in the 80', you sure were proud of the company you worked for