Published On: Wed, Mar 6th, 2013

WITU in solidarity with Curaçao unions on AOV pension age hike

Sint MaartenPHILIPSBURG --The Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) is in solidarity with unions in Curaçao that are protesting the pension age hike from 60 to 65.

WITU President Claire Elshot, who is also Vice President of the Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU), said on Tuesday that the union is backing its counterparts inCuracao.

The public sector unions in Curaçao called their members to a meeting on Monday, from 8:00 to 10:00am at the headquarters of civil servants union ABVO to discuss the AOV pension age hike. Although they have decided not to take government to court over the austerity measure approved by Parliament after all, ABVO, BTG (government labourers), Curatca (air traffic controllers), NAPB (police officers), SAP (police staffers), Sitek (teachers) STrAF (customs and tax workers) and STSK (non-teaching education personnel) do not exclude other actions.

Elshot said unions in St. Maarten have their own concerns about proposals on the table to increase the pension age here initially from 60 to 62 and eventually to 65. She said although the social economic council SER has already given its advice on this proposal, the union still has some concerns. She said while transitional measures are in place for some categories of persons as it relates to the pension age increase, provisions have not been made for other categories of workers.

She said no provisions have been put in place for persons who can/will go on early retirement, while provisions are in place for persons, who will reach age 58 and 59 when the proposal goes into effect. She said the group who can/will go on early retirement seemed to be a “forgotten group,” that will fall through the cracks.

The union also has questions as to what benefits pensioners will get after they have paid extra years into the pension fund, when the pension age goes up in St. Maarten. She said at the moment persons are paying up to age 60; however, when the age is increased to 62 persons will be paying for two additional years. Elshot wants to know what additional financial benefits pensioners will get as a result of paying more years into the fund. She said this needs to be clear.

She acknowledges that increasing the pension age will be beneficial to some workers, such as those who need additional years to qualify for their full pension and for persons who want to work beyond age 60.

She said the union will be tabling its concerns in a petit committee and will come up with recommendations on other transitional measures that would be needed and regarding its other concerns.

Source: The Daily Herald

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