OILFIELD Workers Trade Union (OWTU) president general Ancel Roget has called for Government to "back off" on raising the retirement age.
Sharing his budget wish list during a Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) press conference at BIGWU’s head office in Barataria, Roget also listed three other demands.
He said the unions want government to stay its hand on implementing the property tax; a minimum wage increase; and fuel price reduction.
Roget said the unions approached the Minister of Finance with a letter making the requests on July 24.
“They are coming with the increase in retirement age to make it harder for you to access your NIS pension,” he said. “Contributions that you have made throughout your working life. You will have to wait five more years to receive your full NIS pension.”
He said a rise in the minimum wage will help the people most affected by the rising cost of living.
“There are a group of workers in this country who are at the lowest end of the economic ladder, receiving the least amount of money, but they are under the most pressure. People are not living month to month, but living day by day.”
In his Labour Day speech, he called for the minimum wage to be raised from $17 to $30.
On Friday, he added there should be legislation in place to ensure businesses pay out the proposed minimum wage.
“A minimum wage of $30 is still not enough,” he said. “But at least it should be used as a platform.”
He added that property tax should not be implemented because of the rising cost of living.
In 2022, Attorney General Reginald Armour approached Parliament with a proposition to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65.
The Pensions Act says the retirement age for people appointed to an office in the public service is 60.
The act stipulates that the service commission may require an officer, meaning anyone holding a portfolio in the public service, to retire from service at any time after 60, with special circumstances allowing for retirement at 50.
The Senior Citizens Pensions Act says a person must be 65 to be eligible for a pension.
The National Insurance Board said people qualify for retirement benefits between 60 and 65 if retired, or at 65 whether they are retired or not.