[url=AbitibiBowater">http://www.financialpost.com/news-sectors/story.html?id=1561963][=b... can’t deny pensions: judge[/][/url]
Insolvent AbitibiBowater Inc. must abide by its collective labour agreement and allow its unionized workers early retirement with full benefits, a Quebec Superior Court Judge ruled Monday.
The Montreal-based forestry giant's decision to unilaterally suspend a new provision of the collective agreement that improved its workers' pension plan is "illegal," Justice Clement Gascon said in a ruling.
"This ruling sends a clear message that collective agreements must be respected" during bankruptcy protection proceedings, Gaetan Menard, an executive with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, said in an interview.
This is extremely significant, given the apparent powers of courts in the U.S. to suspend collective agreement provisions for companies in bankruptcy.