Cosatu, Treasury face off over pension
BATTLE lines have been drawn between Cosatu and the national Treasury over the proposed retirement fund reforms that seek to block workers from cashing in their pension benefits before retirement age.
Cosatu has threatened to strike if the Treasury does not remove these "potential prejudicial provisions" and adopt comprehensive reforms.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven yesterday said it was even more worrying that the federation was left out in the cold while talks about the reforms were taking place between the Treasury and the Financial Services Sector.
Cosatu believes the talks about the reforms started in 2007 and were continuing.
Craven said a date for a meeting with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, as part of the Cosatu leadership resolution, had not been set yet.
"We will be writing to the minister and ask for a meeting," he said.
In his Budget Speech Gordhan announced the Treasury would release a number of discussion papers, including one on retirement savings.
Yesterday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said less than 10% of South Africans retire without enough money.
"This is due to the regular withdrawal of retirement savings before retirement age."
He said the reform proposals do make room for allowing workers to dip into their retirement funds to pay for funeral costs, education of children or living expenses during period of unemployment.
Recently, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi expressed concern at the exclusion of labour from such a "complex and explosive issue" affecting workers.
The official retirement age is 60 for women and 65 for men.