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DPP whip criticizes bonuses as lacking legal basis

The China Post--Current year-end annual bonuses allocated for retired civil servants, military personnel and public school teachers do not have a legal basis, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) whip Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said yesterday, adding that his party will work toward the elimination of such bonuses.

 Taipei Councilors Liang Wen-chieh (梁文傑) and Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) recently urged the heads of DPP-controlled local governments to discontinue the distribution of the bonuses. According to local reports, their proposal will be brought before the Central Executive Committee on Wednesday for further deliberation.

 DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), however, said that public servants should be treated uniformly across the nation, and that the central government should initiate a move to discontinue the benefits.

 DPP Central Executive Committee member Hong Chih-kun (洪智坤) recently proposed a “222” reform policy, demanding that salaries for civil servants of the central government, as well as legislators, be cut 20 percent for two years; that a two-year sunset clause be written into law for outdated benefits; that the Executive Yuan guarantee not to raise gasoline and electricity prices for two years; and that standard wages for laborers be raised for two years.

 DPP caucus whip Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said that the opinions of party members will be respected, but that the issue at hand requires a consensus in order to prevent potential conflict between different demographics. Given that there isn't a legal basis for the bonuses, President Ma Ying-jeou should ensure the principle of governmental administration by law and have such benefits abolished, said Pan.

 Tsai said that any reviews of social welfare policies should be focused on current regulations, adding that the resolution of the bonus issue depends on whether the Ma administration is sincere about implementing reforms.

 Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin said that the central government is currently conducting a review on the matter, and since any changes will ultimately affect all retired public servants, military personnel and public school teachers, a uniform policy is necessary. Hau went on to say that once the central government has made its decision, local governments should follow suit.

 Lin Chieh-yu (林芥佑), head of New Taipei's Information Department (新北市新聞局), said that he understands the DPP's concern for laborers and its concern over the nation's struggling economy, but added that there are implementation guidelines related to retirement benefits as stipulated by the central government. Lin echoed Hau's remarks by saying that once regulations have been amended, local governments will act accordingly.

 Executive Yuan Sectary-General Steven Chen (陳士魁) confirmed yesterday that the Cabinet is currently discussing three possible options in relation to the benefits. Chen went on to say that once the Cabinet has reached a conclusion, it will release a statement explaining its decision as soon as possible. With regard to the DPP's proposal of a complete elimination of budgets allocated for annual bonuses, Chen said that the Executive Yuan will respect the Legislature's resolution.

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