Amid recent discussions of the benefits granted to retired government employees, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday panned the Taipei City Government for granting retired teachers and civil servants free admission to municipal venues, urging it to cancel the privilege given to the group.
Retirees from the military, the government sector, public schools and state-owned enterprises are granted free admission to hundreds of museums, parks and tourist sites around the country, in accordance with the preferential measures given to the group listed by the Executive Yuan’s Directorate-General of Personnel Administration.
In Taipei City, municipal facilities and organizations where the group enjoys free entry include the Taipei Zoo, the Taipei City Museum of Fine Arts and the Taipei 228 Memorial Museum.
DPP Taipei City councilors Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) and Lee Ching-feng (李慶鋒) panned the city government for granting this preferential treatment and said the measures were formulated without legal grounds.
Chien said she received a complaint from a retired worker who visited Taipei Zoo recently with her husband and felt uncomfortable that free admission was limited to retirees from the military, the government sector, public schools and state-owned enterprises.
“The privilege granted to this group is class discrimination and gives the working class a sense of deprivation. It’s an unfair measure that should be eliminated,” Chien said.
Lee said the preferential measure formulated by the Executive Yuan more than 40 years ago was not a law and the city government should examine the measure immediately.
“The Charges and Fees Act (規費法) stated that discounts or preferential measures should be given to the elderly, disadvantaged groups and low-income families. The city government should follow the regulations and cancel the privilege to the group for the sake of social justice,” he said.
Taipei City’s Personnel Office Chief Secretary Chen Chun-yen (陳俊彥) acknowledged that there are no laws stipulating such a preferential measure and that public facilities have the authority to determine regulations on admissions fees.
Taipei City’s Department of Education, which supervises city museums, the zoo and other facilities, promised to examine the preferential measure.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) further asked the city government, cities and counties governed by the DPP to stop giving year-end bonuses to retirees from the military, the government sector, public schools and state-owned enterprises.
In Taiwan, an estimated NT$20.2 billion (US$691.9 million) is allotted annually as year-end bonuses to the pension schemes of 445,708 retirees from this group who have opted to receive retirement benefits in monthly installments instead of in one lump sum.
Chuang said that the distribution of these bonuses was neither backed by law nor by executive order, adding that local governments should take action and cancel the bonuses given to the group.
“How can the DPP blame the central government for an unfair policy if local governments governed by the DPP also send year-end bonuses to the group? I think DPP local government heads should take the initiative and cancel those pensions,” he said.