Nortel Pensioners Need Help Is Mike Z. Among Them?

Nortel Networks pensioners continue to lobby for their benefits even as their former employer sells off in parts, and at undervalued prices.

The CBC News reports today that more than 17,000 of ex-Nortel workers have signed a petition calling on the Canadian government to force Nortel to pay their severance and pensions. They want the proceeds of the wireless, enterprise and, likely, Metro Ethernet Networks, units to cover the costs. Otherwise, they fear the repercussions.

“A lot of us are going to end up on welfare or unemployment insurance, and be a burden on the taxpayer, and that’s the last place we ever wanted to be or expected to be,” retiree Tony Marsh told the CBC.

What’s interesting is Canada does not have a law protecting pensioners’ cash, while the United States and the U.K. do.

And amid these efforts, remember that Nortel no longer has a CEO. Mike Zafirovski resigned last month when Nortel reported terrible second-quarter earnings and as the once-venerable company continues to slip into oblivion. So did he, one of the worst CEOs the company has seen, leave with a severance check?

Surprisingly, no.

“He received no severance,” Samih Elhage, the top Ottawa exc, told The Ottawa Citizen last month. “He will become a creditor like everyone else.”

Wonder if Zafirovski’s name is one of the 17,000 on the petition?


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