《TAIPEI TIMES》 Groups ask for reform interpretation
RECRUITMENT OBSTACLE: KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu said that the planned pension system has discouraged people from pursuing employment in the public sector
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporter
Veterans’ group 800 Heroes and other organizations opposed to pension reform yesterday applied to the Council of Grand Justices for a constitutional interpretation on the legality of planned pension cuts for public-school teachers and civil servants following a rally in front of the Judicial Yuan in Taipei.
Under the new pension system, which is scheduled to take effect next month, civil servants and public-school teachers would have to work longer and their pensions would be calculated based on a lower income replacement ratio.
A preferential 18 percent interest rate on their savings would also be reduced to zero by Jan. 1, 2021.
About 300 pensioners and a dozen Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） lawmakers rallied outside the Judicial Yuan to oppose the pension cuts.
“The KMT is not against reform, but we believe reforms should be fair and based on a consistent standard,” KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu （林德福） said at the rally.
“The new pension system should not be retroactively applied to civil servants and public-school teachers who have already retired, because that would run against legitimate expectations,” he said.
The planned pension cuts have affected people’s desire to work for the government, he added.
“The armed forces and police are having difficulty recruiting enough personnel and fewer people are taking tests to become civil servants. Meanwhile, more and more professors are moving to China,” Lin said.
Earlier this year, 800 Heroes convinced 38 legislators across party lines to sign an application to file for a constitutional interpretation on the case, group spokesman Wu Sz-huai （吳斯懷） said, adding that its members are grateful to all the lawmakers who helped them meet the application threshold of 38 seats.
“If the Democratic Progressive Party passes the bill to cut pensions for military personnel next week, we will file for another constitutional interpretation,” Wu said.
He urged the grand justices to be fair and to put aside their own political preferences when ruling on the case.
In addition to the legislators’ application, National Civil Servant Association president Harry Lee （李來希） yesterday also submitted an application for a constitutional interpretation signed by 10,020 civil servants and public-school teachers.
“Under current rules, members of the public cannot file for a constitutional interpretation unless they have lost an administrative lawsuit. That is unfair to ordinary people, such as retired military personnel, civil servants and teachers, who do not have the money or energy to go to court,” Lee said.
They hope to “rewrite history” by attempting a new grassroots approach to petition for a constitutional interpretation, Lee said, adding that they have gathered more than 30,000 signatures and would apply again next month.
After the rally, protesters handed their applications to a representative of the Judicial Yuan’s secretariat and marched to the Legislative Yuan compound.
Members of veterans’ group 800 Heroes and their supporters protest outside the Judicial Yuan in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
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