Nortel Pensioners Win: Benefits Intact Through 2010

Approximately 20,000 Nortel Networks pensioners are in luck, for once.

Yesterday, the Ontario Superior Court approved a $57 million agreement that provides for pension and medical benefits for several more months. Bankrupt Nortel’s pension funding will continue until September and medical and life insurance benefits will last through the end of the year.

Of course, there’s no word on what happens after Dec. 31.

Early this week, it looked like the deal was in peril and that retirees would lose all of their benefits as of March 31. But thanks to the groups Nortel Retirees and Former Employees Protection Canada and Canadian Nortel Employees on Long Term Disability, that didn’t happen.

Wednesday’s extension came after Nortel pensioner representatives agreed to stop pushing for their members to benefit from any future changes to Canada’s bankruptcy laws.

The back-and-forth stems from Nortel’s insolvent status. The company filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 14, 2009, and throughout its assets auctions, has said it doesn’t have enough money to cover pensioners.

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