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The Molson (Vancouver, B.C.) Pension Plan.
Is it Fair?       Is it Ethical?       Is it Legal?

Is it Fair?
This plan discriminates between "regular" and "seasonal" employees as can be seen from the contract language illustrated below...

Appendix B, Article 5
click on graphic to see transcription of complete document.

Note the difference between $74 and $55.50, there is clearly a difference in benefits between these two classes of workers.

So-What? One might argue that, this difference is merely a reflection of the difference in pay rate between "regulars" and "seasonals" and that one would expect that those in a higher income bracket would also qualify for a higher pension benefit upon retirement, or so some might think.

But this is logically like arguing that the poor should receive less because they are poor and that we would expect them to receive less support because that is what poverty is!

In a fair world one would expect equal pay and benefits for equal work. Of course we do not always live in a fair world, but the model of a fair world is the only one worthy of emulation if we are to have any hope of achieving fair results in the concrete world.

The obvious question to pose is: Just because a worker is the victim of job insecurity, that results in him/her being laid off from time to time, how does that justify paying him less for the same work?

Is it Ethical?
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among these Human Rights is...

Article 23.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

However despite this declaration, MOLSON, like so many other corporations does not hesitate to place itself above the International Law.

As I have repeatedly made clear in these web pages here at, the so called "seasonal" workers at MOLSON do exactly the same jobs, operating exactly the same machinery, in exactly the same locations, during exactly the same shifts as the so called "regular" workers. And yet despite Article 23.2, they receive a substantially lower rate of pay.

Now the question becomes: Just because the "seasonal" workers are victims of a crime against international law, does that justify the further insult of an inferior pension.

Is it Legal?
Initially, that is to say, prior to the following letter, illustrated below, "seasonal" worker laboured without the security of any pension plan at all. Though the illegality of this was pointed out to the company by various workers, MOLSON continued to drag its feet on the issue for a year or two. Some time after the following letter was served on the company, MOLSON eventually granted the "seasonals" full pensions as required in the following letter, backdated according to the qualifying date of each individual "seasonal" worker. However a couple of years later with the commencement of the 2002-2006 contract, the pension benefits for "seasonals" was reduced, so that the contract no longer appears to comply with Provincial Law.

Notice in particular the wording:

...section 25(4) of the PBSA permits the employer to establish another plan solely for the benefit of those employees who work on other than a full time basis. The second plan established under section 25(4) of the PBSA must, by virtue of section 25(5) of the PBSA, provide the same benefits as the original plan.    Click here to see complete PBSA

Now we need only to ask the question: Is $74.00 the same as $55.50? If the answer is "no" then clearly the MOLSON Pension plan does not comply with the requirements of the British Columbian Pension Benefits Standard Act. At least not according to Michael J. Peters letter of November 21, 2000.

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In Solidarity,
John Barker

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April 2004