Labor Insurance Fund problems still unsolved

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 - Page 1

As concerns about the bankruptcy of the national labor pension fund continue, lawmakers across party lines yesterday tabled various proposals, all seeking to place the system under government guarantee, but they ended up passing none of them.

The plenary session at the legislature yesterday ended with a vote on a resolution drafted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to address the looming financial troubles of the Labor Insurance Fund. Only seven KMT lawmakers voted, all in favor of the resolution.

Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) announced that the vote was invalid.

A number of opposition lawmakers were present on the floor when the KMT proposal was voted on. The opposition lawmakers were opposed to the KMT proposal, but did not vote it down. Instead, they chanted slogans accusing the KMT of using a “deceptive tactic.”

Under the KMT’s proposal, the government was required to allocate money to the labor pension system when there is a shortage of funds to cover payment of benefits and was obligated to take on pension liabilities in case of the fund’s bankruptcy.

“The KMT’s proposal was nothing but a lie aimed at misleading people into thinking that the government would ensure that the fund is safe if the resolution was passed. In fact, there were no specific rules contained in the resolution to force pension liabilities onto the government,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said.

Opposition parties have all demanded that the government be held liable, under the Labor Insurance Act (勞工保險條例), for final payments.

Another proposal tabled by the DPP, co-sponsored by the People First Party (PFP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), said the government should establish a budget earmarked to improve the financial structure of the fund part of its annual budget.

The proposal added that government liability for final pensions should be made mandatory under the Labor Insurance Act.

The TSU and the PFP both initiated similar proposals, but they were blocked by the KMT, along with the DPP’s proposal, from being placed on the agenda of yesterday’s session.

DPP Legislator Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡) denounced the KMT for killing the proposals by the opposition parties and cast doubt on its sincerity in resolving the fund’s problems.

“If the KMT supported that it should be the government’s duty to honor the payments, why did it block the opposition’s proposals? The Cabinet in May turned down the Council of Labor’s idea that the government appropriates money for the fund; did the KMT, the governing party, say anything about that then? Now the KMT wants to earn the credit for the idea,” Wu said.

A source at the DPP caucus said the DPP did not vote against the KMT version, because it would be deliberately interpreted by the KMT that its efforts to make the government liable for final payments were thwarted by the DPP.