Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two more months of Nortel administered Canadian Pension

We are now in the Dog Days of Summer and that means that time is running down on the agreement made earlier this year between the NRPC and Nortel on the Canadian pension.

As of midnight Sept 30th 2010, Nortel ceases administering the pension and hands it over to an Ontario government appointed administrator. At least that's the normal situation in CCAA pension situations.

The NRPC however has indicated that they are working with the Ontario government to find an alternative that may mean a continuance of the pension trust fund administered by some other party. If that happens it should be better for us, but it doesn't mean that there won't be reductions in our pensions. I'm afraid we are going to have to live with a big reduction no matter what happens, so plan for it and get prepared.

It seems a bit unreal at this point. We have been receiving our defined benefit Canadian pensions since Nortel filed for bankruptcy protection, so that may have lulled some of us into a false sense of security. There may still be people out there who aren't even aware of this situation and are going to have a big shock come October. Let's hope everyone is aware of the problem.

I can't say I am fully prepared. How can we really be prepared when we don't know the full impact this will have on our income? There will be cut backs on many things, and the life we have been leading will have to change, but no doubt we will survive and find ways to cope.

In the meantime we can look forward to 2 more months of receiving a full pension paycheck. Something we thought would last forever.

But we are also losing something else; the feeling for Nortel that we shared when it was strong and vibrant. I know we were all very proud of Nortel, and felt that we were part of something that was better, and was in a way like a second family. Unfortunately we found out the hard way what big companies are really like.

It's sad that we have had this forced on us; something that we didn't cause , but which swept us up in its cruel embrace.

If one good thing came out of this it was a reconnection with some of our old colleagues and friends with whom we had lost contact, as we all retired and drifted apart. Maybe we will be able to keep some of those contacts as we move through this phase and settle into our new lives post-Nortel.

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