23 June 2004

Search all issues

powered by FreeFind

Send Your Feedback!

Pension reform will not see light of day by end June

By Kurt Sansone
All the sabre rattling on pension reform can be postponed for a later date as government’s self-imposed deadline for a thorough overhaul of the pension system by the end of June will most likely be given a miss, with union chiefs insisting that government must be committed
to reform.
Government has repeatedly said it wanted to have a final agreement with the constituted bodies and social partners on a blueprint for pension system reform by the end of June. But with the deadline just one week away, an agreement is unlikely unless government decides to go ahead and publish a white paper of its own accord.
UHM Secretary General Gejtu Vella insisted yesterday that government simply presented MCESD members with the World Bank report on pension reform and stopped at that.
He said that during the pre-budget meeting in Gozo last year between the minister of finance and the constituted bodies, it was agreed that no reforms would be introduced unless government conducted a number of actuarial studies. “Government gave a commitment that the studies would be ready by the beginning of this year and that it would engage in meaningful dialogue with the social partners at the MCESD. There have been only two meetings at the MCESD where government ministers were present. Government has to participate in the MCESD because it has political clout and all it has done is present its proposals through the World Bank report and left it at that.”

“Nobody can accuse the unions and social partners of not wanting to engage in social dialogue, it is government that is dragging its feet,” Vella told The Malta Financial and Business Times.
The UHM secretary general said his union had prepared its proposals for social welfare reforms, including pensions, and was waiting for government to come up with its blueprint.
“Only then can we have meaningful discussions on what reforms are acceptable or not,” Vella said.
Some constituted bodies are still waiting for the results of new actuarial studies requested after the presentation of the World Bank report in March. These studies are unlikely to be presented before the end of June.
“It is impossible to have an agreement by the June deadline,” General Workers’ Union Secretary General Tony Zarb told this newspaper when contacted yesterday.
He said a number of organisations, including the GWU, were still waiting for the results of some workings requested after the presentation of the World Bank report. “The results of these workings would enable us to discuss reforms more thoroughly,” Zarb said.
He added there was no meeting scheduled over the next week to discuss pension reform at the MCESD.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail