Elshot objects to retirement at 65POSTED: 07/13/12 12:20 PM
St. Maarten – If the government wants to increase the retirement age, it should also increase pension benefits, Witu-resident Claire Elshot said yesterday. The president of the teachers union said that under the current system, teachers receive 70 percent of their last earned salary as pension after they have worked 35 years.
“Now the government wants to let us work five years longer, and therefore contribute five more years to the pension fund. In that case the pension should go up to 90 percent of the last earned salary,” the union leader said.
It is not only the plan to increase retirement age that got the Witu-President’s attention. The idea to base the pension on the average salary of a pensioner and not on the last earned (higher) income also met with criticism.
“The government has a lot of work to do. It cannot increase the retirement age without raising the benefits. This is an anti-workers approach and I do not agree with it.”
Elshot said that quite some teachers don’t even make it to age 60 and that their contributions to the pension funds represent significant savings.
“Our members are not asking for a handout, but they contributed to the fund. The government cannot come and tell me and my workers that it is unable to pay the pensions.”