Unions have rejected the government’s plans to reform the pension scheme that would abolish lump sum payment of monthly pension.
Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba said the government had an obligation to secure resources for sustaining an effective pension scheme as opposed to the current pension reforms that were being suggested.
Hikaumba said that he was aware that the government was planning to reform the public service pension scheme so that public service workers no longer receive a lump sum of their benefits upon retirement.
He said it was important that the government held on to the reforms, but instead suggested that workers’ retirement benefits from the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) be paid as a lump sum as opposed to the current arrangement.
Hikaumba said that the approach would negatively affect workers, especially those without any investments.
He said the government had an obligation to source funds to help effect the pension scheme just as they were able to finance other programmes in the country.
“The planned pension scheme does not guarantee and secure the value of accrued rights and this is a violation of rights as enshrined in Article 124 of the current Republican Constitution which guarantees workers accrued rights,” he said.
The government recently embarked on pension reforms in order to help mitigate the current situation obtaining at the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF).
According to the government, the pension reforms would help dismantle the huge backlog of arrears at the pensions.
“We are very much aware of government’s plans to reform the public service pension’s scheme so that public service workers will no longer receive a lump sum of their benefits upon retiring from employment but will instead be paid through monthly payments,” he said.
Hikaumba the union has also expressed concern at the widespread high levels of poverty and unemployment, especially the young people in the country.
He however said he was opposed to the government’ s decision to increase the age of retirement for the civil service to 65 years , but instead it should be at 60.