November 19, 2010

March against pension bill

Workers have marched in Lilongwe against a bill which aims to set the pension age at 55 for women and 60 for men. If passed, it would also become compulsory for workers to have a pension fund. But unions say the fund would not benefit Malawians, who have an average life expectancy of about 50. The Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) wants pensions to be paid at 45 or after a set number of years employment at a company.

According to Labour Minister Yunus Mussa, the pension package was primarily aimed at instilling a culture of saving among Malawians. "Right now people work for years and they only get a token of appreciation - a radio, a blanket or bicycle. We are saying people should contribute to that so that when they retire they do not suffer." He also dismissed the union's claims that no one would benefit from the scheme. "There are people in Malawi older than 50, 70. They are still productive citizens of the country," he said. (rts)

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