PSU in support of pension reform
The Public Service Union (PSU) is in support of the effort being made by the Government to institute pension reform.
âIt is of vital importance that participants and the general public understand the fiscal problems and risk posed by the pension system and support efforts by the Government to institute much needed reforms,â president of the PSU Elroy Boucher said on Tuesday at a press conference at the trade unionâs headquarters.
Boucher said pension reform is also an opportunity to take a critical look at the Pension Act.
He noted that some public officers with 20 years of service get nothing on retirement.
âThere is no provision for stored pension and there is no provision for pension portability,â the PSU president said.
âWe hope that we will be able to get a package that will ensure that public officers upon retirement can live comfortably.â
He said that the OECS pension commission report states that to live comfortably, public officers need to retire on a pension of no less than 80 per cent of their final salary, so the union must ensure that is the case.
âIt is important for the unions to be engaged in this process in order to protect the rights and benefits of public officers,â Boucher stated.
He said the National Insurance Services parametric reform, which took place in 2013, saw those public servants who are not entitled to a government pension have their NIS pensionable retirement age move from 60 to 65.
âIt has created serious problems for those workers. Those are lower salaried workers and there are a lot of them. And Iâve heard their cry. When they retire they are unable to take care of themselves in theâ¦ years before their [NIS] pension is due,â he said.
He stated that increases such as the recent one per cent in Value Added Tax (VAT) has put a financial burden on these workers. Boucher added that there is no social safety net protection for those persons during the time they have to wait for their pensions.
âAnd when this reform was done, somebody failed to take into account all of these workers.
âWhen persons retire they expect to get their pension upon retirement. They donât expect to waitâ¦. And so the union has decided that it will look into every possible way in which this situation can be rectified,â Boucher said.