Pension reform plan will worsen labor’s plight: opposition

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 - Page 3

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday expressed strong opposition to the government’s draft labor pension reform plan, saying it would worsen the plight of 9.7 million workers.

“The terms offered in the proposed plan are worse, with the increased premium rate, less payment [to workers] and an expansion of the basis for calculating pensions from the insured’s average monthly salary from the last five years of employment to 15 years,” DPP Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) told a press conference.

The Council of Labor Affairs has selected Plan B of the two government proposals, which aim to reform the Labor Pension Fund and save it from bankruptcy, although labor representatives opposed both proposals.

Workers with an average insured salary of between NT$30,000 per month and NT$43,900 would be the most affected by Plan B, with the income replacement ratio dropping from 1.55 percent to 1.3 percent and the premium rate increasing 0.5 percent annually until it reaches 18.5 percent.

The DPP demands that the council withdraw the plan and draft a better proposal, Pan said.

While the government has promised that those who earn less than NT$30,000 a month would receive the same payment and would not be affected, the truth is some of them would receive less than NT$10,000 per month, which would not be enough to maintain normal living standards, DPP Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) said.

Lin accused President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration of seeking only to resolve the fund’s cash flow problem before Ma steps down in 2016, instead of thinking of a long-term solution.

Comparing the labor pension reform plan to the one for civil servants, it is easy to see that the government favors civil servants — a move that could exacerbate social division and discredit the government, DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said.

That is why private-sector worker groups have said they would take to the streets and voice their objection to the government’s plan, Chao said.

DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) also expressed concern over potential social conflict because of unfair treatment for various occupations.

TSU Legislator Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) told a separate press conference that the council should be condemned for ignoring the call of representatives of private-sector employees, who urged the council to formulate a “Plan C.”