Pensions: Government should address injustices

In a press conference in Valletta, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party appealed to Government to address the issue of pensioners who have faced injustices as regards their pensions’ entitlement.

Angele Deguara, AD spokesperson for Social Policy and Civil Rights, said: “The government has a moral responsibility to see that social justice is carried out in the case of a number of ex-employees who were previously employed with the Malta Electricity Board. In the 1960s, two cabinet decisions and an official circular issued by the Board of Directors made it clear that these workers were identical to government employees and that they would be entitled to the same pension conditions. However, these pensioners were never given their rightful pension. Their rights have been ignored by six prime-ministers. A recent court ruling, in fact, has admitted that these pensioners should have been given equivalent pension entitlements like those given to government employees but, because the case has become prescribed, the court could not enforce this right. AD is therefore urging the government to take the necessary action to ensure that social justice is done with these pensioners”.

Prof. Arnold Cassola, AD spokesperson of EU and International Affairs said: “Other pension anomalies exist in our society.  For example, disabled people are only entitled to 55% of minimum wage at the moment and this results in a pittance of a pension.  Another anomaly is that a person working on two part-time jobs has a pension based on two – thirds of only one part-time job.  This amounts to the minimum pension. There is no option of paying contributions for both part-time jobs.  This discrimination is an unjust one. Another strong anomaly concerns pensioners, such as former Barclays and British public or military service employees, who have had their foreign government or private company pension subtracted from their Malta two-thirds pension by the Government in the 1970s. Subsequent governments in the past twenty five years have not redressed this injustice.  Such pensioners should be compensated for their loss of pension”.

Michael Briguglio, AD Chairperson said: “AD’s electoral manifesto addresses these injustices. In particular we are calling for compensation for pensioners for having been deprived of the pension they were due. We are also calling for a review of the disability pension to ensure a decent quality of life. Progressive revenue measures could make up for such costs”.