First of all, with regard to the question of his jurisdiction to hear the complaint, the arbitrator stated that “retirement benefits are part of the remuneration package for active workers and can be negotiated as such.” He concluded that the “essential nature” of the dispute was derived from the collective agreement, because: the associations asserted that section 17.1 required that all benefits, including post-retirement benefits, be maintained for the duration of the collective agreement. The fact that pensioner benefits have not been negotiated before and have been provided by Council decisions does not matter, he said. If the employer wanted to change pension benefits, they were required to do so in negotiations. In this regard, the associations stated that the framework agreement governing collective bargaining between the parties allowed the issue of post-retirement benefits to be negotiated and referred to the interest rate-setting process. The government argued that the arbitrator was not competent to hear the complaint because the collective agreement was not competent for retired lawyers. In addition, pensioner benefits are not included in the collective agreement and do not fall within the scope of section 17.1. The Government also argued that post-retirement benefits were not matters that the parties were negotiating or could refer to an interest rate deferral procedure under the framework agreement. On the contrary, post-retirement benefits had to be determined unilaterally. ALOC participates in a series of activities of interest to its members, including collective bargaining, complaints and educational events.
ALOC also responds to members` requests and works with management on a wide range of issues such as employment competitions, pensions, benefit plan pay and compensation, and the interpretation of the collective agreement. The Adjudicator then considered whether pensioner benefits fell within the scope of section 17.1. He rejected the employer`s argument that he did not want such benefits to fall within the scope of section 17.1, since benefits were never negotiated after retirement. He noted that when the previous version of section 17.1 was first included in the collective agreement in 2000, retired lawyers have long since received and continue to receive the same benefits as other retired government employees. The associations therefore had no reason to address the issue during the negotiations. Finally, the Arbitrator found that post-retirement benefits fell within the jurisdiction of an arbitration panel to be awarded and found that the framework agreement did not exclude pensioners` benefits from the scope of Section 17.1. He concluded that this meant that pensioner benefits were allowed to be the subject of collective bargaining. They also fell into cases that could be referred to an arbitration tribunal of interest.
Subject to the agreement of the parties and the terms of the collective agreement, the parties agree that, while the terms of this collective agreement are in effect, no expressly foreseen and persistent benefit will be reduced on all matters within the jurisdiction of an arbitration tribunal. In reviewing the specific language of Article 17.1, the Arbitrator found that pensioner benefits were an “existing, specially provided and continuous” article. There was no doubt that the pension benefits were “existing” at the time of the negotiation of the current collective agreement.