Retired and some active military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers took to the streets Sept. 3 to protest what they described as the smearing of them in the discussion of the retirement pension reform issue.
This marked the first time public sector employees have staged a massive protest.
The nation's financial situation is in dire straits, the retirement pension system is chaotic, and the income replacement ratio is not fair. All these are facts, and we support the government's plan to reform, but we also support the calls of the protesters, who are not against reform, but call for the "principle of dignity."
President Tsai Ing-wen (???) has stressed that retirement pension reform is not "to encourage one group of people to fight against another group."
She also said that reform should not be rash or procrastinated upon. However, the Tsai administration is moving in an even more rash manner than the previous Kuomintang administration.
Because of this, some people who have no idea about the content or goals of the reforms have used the issue as a political campaign, and "smearing" has become their most effective method.
We can see TV pundits using false and exaggerated information to lash out at military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers, depicting them as the recipients of lucrative retirement benefits, who should be blamed for the problematic pension system.
The issue of retirement pension reform began to receive wide attention in 2012 when reports surfaced that labor insurance funds could go broke in a few years.
There have been discussions about whether the nation's various retirement systems have favored specific occupations.
In theory, retirement pensions and insurance should be co-shouldered by the laborer and management, and the government should only serve in the role of monitoring.
But the government itself is the employer of military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers, resulting in a mixing of the role of the government as an employer as well as a subsidy provider.
The 18 percent preferential interest rate received by public employees has also garnered widespread criticism.
But this policy was designed at a time when the government hoped to avoid retirees opting for lump-sum retirement payments.
With the changing times, it has become a target of attacks. More importantly, most people don't even realize that only a few public sector employees who retired in earlier times are eligible for the preferential interest rates.
Unjust retirement pension and insurance certainly should be reformed.
Currently, military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers shoulder 35 percent of their insurance, with the government paying the remaining 65 percent.
Teachers and staff of private schools pay 35 percent, while their employers and the government each shoulder 32.5 percent.
Laborers pay 20 percent of their insurance, while employers pay 70 percent and the government shoulders 10 percent. Farmers pay 30 percent of their insurance, with the government shouldering the remaining 70 percent.
A review of the retirement pension system should narrow the differences and make the nation's financial structure more healthy.
We agree with Tsai's remarks that the significance of retirement pension reform is to ensure that each generation of Taiwanese can have stable lives in their retirement.
But the question remains that if the current retirement pension reform does not follow the right path, and this generation cannot have stable retirements, how can we hope that the next generation can enjoy the same? Editorial abstract
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel