Union’s ‘retirement law picketing’ hits PMB

2016-02-03 06:00
Cosatu members barricade Commercial Road as they picket outside the Treasury department offices to oppose the new regulations on retirement.                                                                        PHOTO: nqobile mtolo

Cosatu members barricade Commercial Road as they picket outside the Treasury department offices to oppose the new regulations on retirement. PHOTO: nqobile mtolo

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THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) members recently picketed outside the Treasury department along Commercial Road to oppose the new tax law that affects workers’ pension funds. Cosatu believes this law was put into action without the mandate of workers.

Wearing red Cosatu T-shirts, members blocked Commercial Road and sang struggle songs and chanted “Ngoba eyethu lemali, pho lombango owani?” (Because this is our money, then what is this struggle for?)

Cosatu’s deputy general secretary Chris Gina said they will continue to challenge the government on this law.

“The reason we are picketing at the office of the Treasury is because of the Retirement Act and the government has bypassed discussions we had with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and Treasury. As Cosatu we believe we still have to negotiate with government.

“We were very surprised when the president signed for this to become the governing law.

“As labour we are going to fight this law until death. We are not going to surrender whatsoever. The issue of retirement is a big issue and affects a lot of people,” said Gina.

The tax changes, which will only be reviewed in two years, aim to encourage South African workers to preserve their retirement savings.

“While Cosatu shares the government’s concern that some workers may misuse their entire pension payout by spending it in one go on a car or a house, there is also a problem with the government dictating that in all cases it must be paid out only as income.

“Cosatu will argue for workers to have the option of using a proportion of the pension as a lump sum, with the rest paid as a monthly income,” said Cosatu in a statement.

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