Letter of the Day| Ease pensioners’ pain, UC Rusal: Give us our money
THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is an open letter to UC Rusal from pensioners of its Windalco locations at Kirkvine, Ewarton and Port Esquivel. These pensioners have had varying periods of service with your company, ranging from 25 to 40 years. We are now mostly quite old and in need of your urgent resolution in the matters outlined below.
You are aware of the many health hazards that were encountered by us during these many years and the health challenges now faced from the residual effects of these hazards in the work environment.
You are also aware of your company's decision, in 2012, to remove the Pensioners' Health Insurance Plan and the Unit of Life Insurance (Death Benefit) which were of much value to your pensioners and understood, by us, to be part of our retirement package. Since this removal, there have been significantly increased hardships on pensioners. Some pensioners have been suffering, some have even died, perhaps a direct result of this most unfortunate decision.
We, your pensioners, consider the removal of these privileges as insensitive and thoughtless when we consider the many years we have worked for you, giving the most productive years of our lives to your company. Your stated reason of an inability to continue the financing of these benefits is of no comfort to us, especially because these benefits are most needed now - in our old age, living with the lingering health effects of our employment hazards (dust, noise, chemical gases, caustic solutions, acids, asbestos materials, etc).
The removal of these insurance benefits has made life extremely difficult for us. You then can imagine what it means to us when you embarked on very lengthy court battles seemingly to deprive us of an expected reasonable share in the surplus on the wind-up of our pension fund. We urge you to think of what you are doing to some aged persons who have worked diligently for your company over the many years.
We have followed the court cases and do believe that the matter has been overindulged in court. We further believe that the directions given by the Privy Council and the Supreme Court are sufficiently clear that there is nothing for anyone to gain by delaying, any longer, the trustees'/company submissions to the Financial Services Commission. We urge that company/court-appointed trustees agree with the original trustees' plan for distribution of the surplus and avoid any further delay, which only serves to further hurt us, your pensioners. You, sirs, may find that in so doing you will be meeting your pensioners' expectations and are likely to regain their trust, respect and confidence.
As pensioners, we are hoping that all trustees agree that their loyalty is first and foremost to the pensioners and that the pension surplus must be used mostly in favour of improving the lives of pensioners and their dependents. This consideration is clearly in keeping with the purpose of the fund.
Windalco/UC Rusal Pensioners