Judge to rule on TSTT clerk’s claim for $.9m pension benefits

NEXT Thursday, a High Court judge will give his ruling on a claim by a TSTT payroll clerk who is seeking almost $1 million.

She says the amount is owed to her as part of the company’s voluntary enhanced early retirement plan (VEERP), a pension lump sum and a reduced monthly pension.

Brenda Mark, a permanent employee of TSTT since 1984, said she submitted an application for VEERP in April 2014, and her lump sum figure was calculated and given to her.

It amounted to $974.289.04.

She was invited to financial counselling sessions and said she believed TSTT was serious about “the binding agreement” which was formed when she accepted the early-retirement offer.

Her lawsuit also said she and other employees were told of an industrial relations matter filed in the Industrial Court over voluntary separation and pension packages for TSTT workers, but the company never contacted her about any changes in relation to the VEERP process.

She said she was never a member of the union for TSTT’s employees, so it did not represent her interests with regard to her acceptance of the early-retirement offer, and whatever was agreed to in the case before the Industrial Court, had nothing to do with her.

In that matter, TSTT had agreed there was a breach of contract in relation to the offers and, by consent, agreed that everyone who applied for VSEP and VEERP would receive a lump sum for their years of service, multiplied by 2.5 months’ salary for junior staff, or 3.5 months for senior staff.

Her lawsuit claims in October 2015, TSTT withdrew the VSEP and VEERP offer and hence she did not get her VEERP lump sum, her pension lump sum or her reduced monthly pension.

Mark testified at the short virtual trial before Justice Frank Seepersad on Wednesday, and the judge said he will give his decision next week Thursday.

It is TSTT’s position that the application for early retirement did not form a contract between the company and the employees, and the circular sent to them was not an offer but an invitation to apply for either VSEP or VEERP.

Attorneys Martin George and Sara Martinez are representing Mark, Attorney Sashi Indarsingh of MG Daly and Partners is representing TSTT.

Read More: Judge to rule on TSTT clerk’s claim for $.9m pension benefits

2021-03-10 20:24:55

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