Former President of the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), Mary Isaac, has called on the government to address inequities in pensions.
Addressing a news conference of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) this morning, Isaac declared that there were different systems of pensions in the public service.
“You have one where workers are required to contribute to NIC and the other where workers get a pension from the government,” Isaac, who has been endorsed as the UWP’s Candidate to challenge the incumbent Labour MP, Doctor Robert Lewis, in Castries South, said.
According to her, the pension inequities have been plaguing the public service since 2003 when they were created by the current Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), government.
“You have public servants who receive a government pension, they do not contribute anything to that pension but the people who pay NIC, they are required to pay a percentage of their salary towards their NIS contribution,” Isaac explained.
“So automatically you have a system where people who are coming into the service, their salary has been cut down by that percentage that they have to pay to the NIC, whereas people who are there do not have to pay that sum and their salary is at a different level,” the former CSA President observed.
She also stated that under the current pension system with the NIC if somebody dies, then the spouse and dependents under the age of eighteen are entitled to continue getting benefits, whereas with a government pension there is no such provision.
In addition, Isaac disclosed that parliamentarians are entitled to a different pension after serving two terms.
“We believe that everyone should be entitled to a pension because we don’t want people to live in abject poverty and their actions impact negatively on the society,” the former CSA President told this morning’s news conference.