Opposition mounted this week over the controversial pension scheme for private sector workers with trade unions and employers appealing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for more consultations saying a lot of issues need to be cleared before it is taken up in Parliament. Opposition parties were also up in arms over the scheme.
The Joint Business Forum or JBIZ in a statement said the scheme has many ramifications. “It needs careful thought and preparation and more importantly, a strong consultative process with the relevant stakeholders,” the statement issued by JBIZ Chairman Lal de Alwis said, adding that there is concern not among employers but also trade unions and workers as well.
JBIZ, comprising all the main chambers and which has been quiet for awhile, came together to raise concerns over the Employees Pensions Bill reflecting the dangers in the Bill the way it is presented.
In a April 18 communication to member firms, the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) called for an actuarial study to understand the effectiveness of the scheme. An actuarial study assesses the financial impact of risk and uncertainty.
The EFC also said the mandatory provision means thousands of workers in the Free Trade Zones who work for less than 10 years will be compelled to participate but not get the eventual benefits.
Nine trade unions including the National Free Trade Union in a separate joint statement said though in principle they support the creation of a pension scheme, they were concerned with certain clauses in the Bill which ‘will cause practical difficulties and hardship to workers. The President is due to meet trade unions tomorrow to discuss the issues while parliament is scheduled to debate the bill on April 27. A fundamental rights petition filed by the Ceylon Bank Employees Union in the Supreme Court challenging the bill is also expected to be supported this week.