Canadian Company to Reinstate DB Plan

May 23, 2006 ( - BHP Billiton Ltd. will switch back to a defined benefit pension plan for 375 unionized mine workers in Canada.

Business Insurance reports that the decision comes after a ruling by the Canada Industrial Relations Board that BHP violated Canadian labor laws when it changed the pension plan of the workers from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan without the consent of their union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).

The union filed the complaint with the board in November of 2004, saying BHP failed to consult with the union or notify it of the company’s intention to change the pension plan, according to Business Insurance. The DB plan was converted to a DC plan effective July 1, 2004.

“PSAC stated that its membership wants the previous pension plan,” the company said in a statement, according to Business Insurance. “In keeping with the union’s wishes to have its members returned to the original plan, (BHP) will be rolling back the pension plan for those employees. This change means that all bargaining unit employees will have the same pension plan-the original plan previously used by all employees prior to 2004.”