Monday, September 27, 2004

EMPLOYEES FROWN ON RETIREMENT PACKAGE

The All U.P. Workers Union Manila fully supports the following statement by Mr. Ferdinand Gaite, President of COURAGE. Indeed, almost every word now that comes from Malacañang is a doublespeak. The sad truth is that this government is out to save its own neck now, their brethren and their cronies; never for the people, neither for the welfare of the country and for posterity.

“IT’S A CUP OF HEMLOCK, NOT A SILVER PARACHUTE." An early retrenchment not retirement plan”. This was how Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE National President,described the PhP1 million per taker early retirement package being proposed by Malacañang. Gaite added that the figures being dangled may look enticing at first but once an employee availed of it, only then that the truth will be known - the early retirement plan of the administration is a bait, a sugarcoated bitter pill meant to retrench the personnel of the bureaucracy and abandon basic social services.

Based on Malacañang proposal, those who wish to avail of the package shallreceive a corresponding amount depending on their years of service-50percent of salary for each year of service for those with less than 20years, 75% for those with less than 40 years, and 100% for those with 40 ormore years. These allegedly are on top of the regular retirement benefitfrom the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). But the catch, according to Gaite is that the employees of the former MWSS, National PowerCorporation and Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau who availed of the early retirement plan offered by these offices, have yet to receive in full or worst even a fraction of the supposed retirement pay.

“It is also ominous that they will once again tap the GSIS to bankroll theP15 billion allocation for the program. The mismanagement and fund abuse issues raised against GSIS with Winston Garcia at the helm have yet to be settled, now the government will once again dip their hands into our funds. Imagine, money from the employees’ sweat and blood to finance the employees’ early retrenchment.” Gaite also scored Rep. Joey Salceda’s statement that Arroyo’s early retirement program for the government employees “is a solid step of thePresident towards fiscal health and is likely to excite investors”. “A heartless Congressman who would rather please the investors at the expense of the thousands of employees who will lose their jobs. We wonder, how much is he being paid for being the spokesperson of the government’s streamlining program. Salceda being a member of the Economic Manager’s Group of the President should instead subject the President to audit, ask for the liquidations of the expenditures that went beyond the income and receivables of the government especially during the elections.”

COURAGE warns that it will not just the government employees who will be affected by the streamlining program of the government but also the delivery of basic public services. And as such, the government can expect that it will not just face the restiveness of the employees but the general public as well. #

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