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Pension problem ‘not that drastic’, says Pulse

By Matthew Xuereb

Malta Independent, May 12, 2003

Malta - The study, conducted by the European Union, revealed that the ratio of people over 65 to those of working age will double by 2050 in EU Member States.

And in Malta, estimates show that the elderly population will increase drastically over the next 20 years or so, possibly reaching the 100,000 mark. Around 25 per cent of the population - one in four people - will rely on state pensions.

But Pulse believes the present government, with the pension reforms it wanted to introduce, was going to put Malta back to the 1950s “when the same right-wing political party said pensions was an extra burden on the government and that the money would be used by the elderly to buy wine”.

Pulse spokesman Josef Masini said it was true that there was a need for the present pension system to be revised, but the situation was not as “fatal” as it is depicted. He said there were many solutions available to the government without breaching all principles of social justice.

Mr Masini said the government should ensure that no-one is adversely affected by the reform it was proposing.

He said the pension problem could be solved by decreasing the 40-hour week to 35 hours. In this way, he explained, there will be more workers and the government would collect more revenue from social security contributions.

Mr Masini promised that Pulse will do all it can to safeguard workers’ fundamental right for a decent life. “We will do everything we can to ensure that social justice, on which our social democratic principles are based, will not be undermined by any government or European institution,” he said.

Pulse president Andre Borg expressed his hope for a “solid opposition” to oppose such reforms, in the best interest of the Maltese workers and Maltese society at large.

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