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‘Mass resignations over pension reforms’

Johannesburg - Workers are resigning and cashing in their pension savings in fear of government nationalising pensions, Cosatu said on Wednesday.

“Workers are resigning for fear that government is going to nationalise their pensions through the proposed retirement reforms come March 2015,” Congress of SA Trade Unions president S’dumo Dlamini told journalists in Johannesburg.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

He was briefing the media following a Cosatu central executive committee meeting held on August 12.

Dlamini said government should halt implementation of the proposed retirement reforms until they were properly explained.

“We know that retirement funds are ring-fenced, but government is not clear. It is sending mixed messages about this and causing confusion,” he said.

There was no guarantee that those who resigned would get their jobs back.

Workers at a company in Ekurhuleni who resigned to cash in their savings could not be re-hired after they returned to claim their jobs back, Dlamini said.

“The employer told them the only way they could be hired again was through labour brokers,” he said.

The resignations were a cheaper method of retrenchments, Dlamini said.

In a statement on July 9, the national Treasury said government’s proposed retirement reforms, including those relating to preservation of savings, were aimed at ensuring pension fund members were better protected and could retire comfortably.

The Treasury said it had noted public concerns fuelled by rumours that government would take away people’s hard earned pensions and prevent them accessing their funds.

“These rumours are based on a misunderstanding of government’s proposals. We would like to assure citizens that government has no intention to nationalise people’s pension provident funds or prevent them from accessing their money.”

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced proposals in the 2013 budget speech to reform the retirement industry, with a focus on governance, preservation, annuitisation, and harmonisation of retirement funds.

Sapa

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