09/03/2014 04:20 EDT | Updated 11/03/2014 05:59 EST

City of Regina makes pension submission without input from employee groups

REGINA - The City of Regina is submitting a proposal to Saskatchewan's superintendent of pensions without input from its workers.

City officials say they had hoped to make a joint submission, but employee groups did not respond to proposals that were tabled.

The two sides have been in talks since July when the province announced it might have to cancel the pension if there is no solution to a funding shortfall of nearly $300 million.

Such a move would terminate pensions for about 7,000 civic employees.

City manager Glen Davies says the letter of intent which was agreed upon by both groups in 2013 is reflected in the submitted proposal.

An employee representative says that's not true and is questioning whether the city's plan for solving the pension problem is above board.

Kirby Benning, chairman of the pensions and benefits committee, says the city can't push its plan through city council.

Davies counters that would be an option if the superintendent were to accept the city's proposal.

"I'm confident ... that the proposal that we've put together is a reasonable and responsive one and I'm looking forward to approval through the regulatory process," Davies said Wednesday.

Benning said employees will have no choice but to go to the courts if the city does try to force in a new plan by changing the pension bylaw.

"The bylaw does say that any amendments do need approval of the committee and so we don't feel any amendments that they may try and force into the bylaw would be legal."

The employee groups have said they requested an independent third party be involved in the negotiations, but the city wasn't interested in that option.

"They want everything. They want to get rid of the defined benefit plan. They want total control over governance. It's not a very co-operative approach," Benning said.

Employees are still working on their own proposal, which would keep a defined benefit plan in place, he added.

Council must approve a new plan by the end of the year.