‘LAST RESORT’: The KMT fully supports the protesting pensioners, who are trying to fill their stomachs and protect their dignity, KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih said
By Stacy Hsu / Staff reporter
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih （吳敦義） yesterday called on President Tsai Ing-wen’s （蔡英文） administration to ensure the dignity and financial security of retired public servants, as the government unveiled a proposed pension reform bill for veterans.
Accompanied by KMT lawmakers, Wu yesterday morning visited public-sector retirees who have been camping outside the Legislative Yuan building for more than 250 days to protest against the government’s pension reforms targeting public servants, public-school teachers and veterans.
Reform plans for the first two groups cleared the legislative floor in June. The government decided to deal with the pension schemes of veterans in the final phase of reform due to the nature of military jobs.
“Under the rule of law and in a democratic nation, taking to the streets in protest is a desperate last resort. Although the KMT is in the minority at the legislature, it will throw its full support behind the people who are protesting in a legal manner to safeguard their dignity and fill their stomach,” Wu said on the sidelines of his visit.
Wu said the KMT has maintained a consistent stance on the matter, which is that the government should treat public-sector employees properly after they have served and dedicated their lives to the nation, and keep its pledge of safeguarding their financial security after retirement.
The government should offer additional protection for veterans, who risk their lives protecting their nation and its public, Wu said, accusing the Tsai administration of failing to ensure a retirement in dignity and comfort for “the nation’s warriors.”
“Since the Tsai administration took office, it has done the opposite of trying to prop up the nation’s economy,” Wu said, accusing Tsai of lowering Taiwanese’s average living standard, launching a witch hunt against the KMT under the guise of recovering ill-gotten party assets and failing to fulfill her promise of maintaining the cross-strait “status quo.”
“Rather, she has spent taxpayers’ money renovating her residence, making overseas visits, buying cars and providing financial assistance to other nations,” he said, calling on the government to revise its pension reform plans to make it more “humane.”
According to the government’s proposed pension reform plans for veterans, officers can apply for a pension after 20 years of service, but their pensions would be calculated based on their average salary over the past three years instead of the final month as is currently stipulated.
As for the controversial 18 percent preferential savings rate, it is to be reduced to zero over 10 years for officers, rather than two years as set for retired civil servants and public-school teachers.
Despite the differences in treatment on the savings rate issue, the pension floor for veterans is the same as retired civil servants and public-school teachers, at NT$32,160.
Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） Chairman Wu Den-yih, center, arrives outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to meet campaigners holding a non-stop protest against proposed pension reforms that would affect public servants, public-school teachers and veterans. Photo: Cheng Hung-ta, Taipei Times