Public sector employees protest ‘defamation’ in pension reform

An alliance of retired and active military personnel, civil servants and public school teachers will take to the streets later Saturday to protest against what they described as "smearing of public sector employees" in the discussion of retirement pension reform issues.

Around 100,000 people are expected to take part in the protest, according to the organizers.

This will be the first massive demonstration since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen (???), who has vowed to reform the country's deficit-ridden retirement pension system, a long-running issue that she said former administrations have failed to resolve.

The protesters will start their march at 2 p.m. and end in a rally at Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office.

Their slogan include "no to defamation," "yes to dignity," and "protest against (President) Tsai Ing-wen for bullying military personnel, civil servants, public school teachers and laborers."

The protesters said they also support efforts to reform the pension system, but not reform in "the style of the Cultural Revolution" or that "targets a specific group of individuals or occupations."

The Cultural Revolution refers to the 10-year movement beginning in 1966 in China that threw the country in turmoil.

Taiwan's public sector pensioners have increasingly been depicted as enjoying lucrative retirement benefits and are blamed by many for the financial woes facing the pension system.

According to a pension reform committee under the Presidential Office, there are currently 13 different pension programs in effect in Taiwan.

The average monthly pension was NT$49,379 (US$1,554) for military personnel, NT$56,383 for civil servants, NT$68,025 for public school teachers, compared with NT$17,223 for private school teachers, NT$16,179 for employees covered by labor insurance, NT$7,256 for farmers, and NT$3,628 for workers covered by general public insurance, the committee said.

Unless changes are made, the pension program for military personnel will go bankrupt in 2020, that for public school teachers in 2030 and that for civil servants in 2031, the Ministry of Civil Service said Friday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel