Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Nan Shan union, AIG hit impasse over pension deal

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Negotiations over pension payments between Nan Shan Life Insurance Co’s (南山人壽) labor union and its US parent, American International Group (AIG), encountered another roadblock yesterday despite a three-hour closed-door meeting.

Union representative Grace Fung (馮影) said yesterday’s discussions at Nan Shan’s Taipei headquarters were futile because AIG representative Rick Bender, AIG’s executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Greater China and India region, had rejected all requests they submitted.

“We’re considering the next step to take,” Fung said.

She refused, however, to say if the union would take the dispute to the streets as some local media had speculated.

“It would be a big step if we ever take to the streets,” she said.

Bender kept stalling on the issue of pension payments, Fung said.

WAITING FOR A BUYER

“He [Bender] kept telling [labor representatives] that the US parent company needed more time to reach a decision since no buyer has been finalized,” Fung said.

Once a buyer has been found, Bender said he would introduce the labor representatives to the buyer so they could talk directly, she said.

“But we don’t want the new buyer to get involved in the pension payment problem,” she said.

“AIG should resolve the issue before it closes the sale and exits the local market,” she said.

Bender told the labor representatives that buyers had been scared by the pension dispute and none had bid higher than its asking price of US$2 billion, Fung said.

The union, however, has no plan to back off, she said.

PAYOUT PROPOSAL

Nan Shan agents and employees would stick to the union’s proposed formula, which calculates pension payments based on the employee’s average monthly salary over the past three years and the number of years he or she has worked for the life insurer, she said.

For example, if an agent had worked for 10 years with an average monthly salary of NT$50,000 (US$1,540) over the past three years, he or she could receive a pension of NT$1.1 million.

Paying the pensions for Nan Shan’s 36,000 employees and sales agents was expected to cost AIG between NT$10 billion and NT$15 billion.

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