Pension reform is one of our biggest challenges – PSU head
Elroy Boucher, President of the PSU.
February 21, 2023

Pension reform is one of our biggest challenges – PSU head

President of Public Service Union, Elroy Boucher has identified as a major challenge for the union, ensuring that public servants are not disadvantaged when pension reforms are being made.

Boucher spoke on this issue on Tuesday, February 14, at a press conference where members of the executive unveiled the activities for the Union’s 80th anniversary.

The celebrations, which are being held under the theme “Navigating the way forward-80 years and counting,” will be conducted throughout the year and includes a presidential award ceremony and cocktail at the Methodist Church Hall.

Boucher said that the Public Service Union (PSU), has come a very long way after 80 years, and he urged its members to continue to adapt to the world, which is constantly changing.

“The PSU has faced many challenges, very serious throughout its 80 years of existence. In navigating many of these challenges we have shown great resilience,” he said.

“ The trailblazers that went before us have done so and we continue do so and those who come after us will have to do for the survival of the PSU. The theme which is, ‘Navigating the way forward-” actually forces us to think about how we can revitalise ourselves in the union, and to find creative ways to face new challenges in this changing world of work”.
Boucher said that pension reform is one of the biggest challenges that the union will have to face and it must find innovative ways of navigating this giant.

“Pension reform, both for the PSU pension system and for the NIS pension is one of the biggest challenges. The PSU is divided into two classes of people: there’s a class that have pension…from public service pension system; and there’s another class that doesn’t.The PSU, of course, is of the view that that is discriminatory. All public servants serve the public dutifully and faithfully, and many go beyond the call of duty to ensure that the public is satisfied and therefore, there should never be a difference in one public servant versus the other…”.

Boucher added that the union recognises that there is need for one class of public servants.

“Therefore those public servants who are not entitled to a pension from the public service pension system, we have to find a…creative way- it’s not simple- to ensure that they also are able to receive a pension. We have to find the means to protect the public service pension system to ensure that current public servants are not disadvantaged when those reforms take place, so that is a big challenge,” Boucher elaborated.

“…we know that government is looking at the cost of paying pensions and therefore the intention to reduce it is based on that, so it’s not sustainable…”.

He said that a part of that challenge relates to the attempt of the government to combine a public service pension and an NIS pension and they are not the same.

“They are two distinct pensions; like anybody who’s working in a private company and has NIS pension or they take on a different pension, two distinct pensions, the attempt is being made to show that public servants are either greedy or are benefiting unfairly by having two pensions, and that is not the case,” the PSU president said.

“ When public servants join the public service…one of the ways of retaining public servants is by recognising that they are entitled to a pension, it’s a retainment policy and therefore it should not be looked at as being too generous”.

Boucher said that 66.7% of a salary offered as a pension is not too generous and that it is still not enough if it stands alone.