An alliance of retired public school teachers encouraged members yesterday to file individual lawsuits against the government over its decision to cut the benefits of retired personnel.
During a briefing held by the alliance in Taipei, lawyers were invited to explain to the participants the proper procedure to file such a lawsuit.
Also at the scene, the alliance launched a fund-raising campaign with the goal of collecting NT$1 million (US$31,250) to support their plan to lodge a class action lawsuit.
Chang Mei-ying, spokeswoman of the alliance, urged all retired public school teachers to stand out to defend their rights and sue what she called "law-breaking government officials."
Tan Chia-hua, one of the retired teachers attending the event, claimed that the retirement benefits are a "contract" between the government and the retired personnel and that the government's backing out of its commitment has severely undermined the interests of retired teachers.
Tan noted that in the past, most people who chose to become teachers were from poorer families and they expected stable incomes from the teaching positions.
If it had not been the government's commitment to provide them with secure benefits after their retirement, most teachers would not have opted to retire so early, she said.
The government is set to implement on February 16 a new scheme aimed at setting a "reasonable ratio" for the monthly income payable to retired civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers, in light of the fact that some retired personnel get more than they earned when they were working due to a 18-percent preferential interest rate on their deposits.
Under the scheme, with monthly pensions, the preferential deposit interest and year-end bonus included, the retirement income for those who have worked for 25 years will not be more than 85 percent of the pay they were receiving at the time of their retirement. The ratio will be no more than 95 percent for those who have worked for 35 years.
Around 160,000 retired teachers, 80,000 retired civil servants and about 100 retired military personnel will see their retirement benefits reduced under the new scheme, saving government coffers an estimated NT$500 billion to NT$600 billion over a 40-year period.