In 2008, incumbent prime minister Lawrence Gonzi devised and started a scheme with the intention of normalising an injustice whereby a number of pensioners (why not all?) who had their national insurance pension reduced (those in reduction of over €7,000 per annum being left out) would start to have their pension corrected in line with their rules of engagement in the civil service prior to 1979.

The 2008 budget was written in 2007 and so monetary figures were referred to in lira.

Thus for 2008, according to a budget measure, the Nationalist administration decided that Lm200 = €466 was to be ignored from the treasury pension of pensioners in receipt of such (treasury) pension.

By way of explanation this meant that, for example, a treasury pension of €9,466 annually would be considered as €9,000 annually for the purpose of computation, in calculating whether one was above or below the set capping consonant with one’s grade when one was still in government service.

Being above the capping meant and still means, that one gets no correction to one’s NI pension.

After having €466 ignored from their treasury pension, a number of pensioners gained:

(a) A total of €466 if they were €466 or more below the set capping in 2008 and full future corrections;

(b) Part of €466 if they were less than €466 above the capping in 2008 and full future corrections;

Correcting the pensions of some and ignoring that of others is immoral and smacks of discrimination, rendering the exercise anti-constitutional

(c) Part of or a full future correction when they fall below the set capping;

(d) Zero so far (in 2018) if they are still above the capping, ten years after.

Cappings are calculated according to one’s salary scale upon retirement. The maximum capping is the sum of the maximum NI pension, €12,185 and the €2,266 correction together totalling €14,451 for 2018.

Clearly, all pensioners in categories (a) and (b) started to immediately reap the fruit of the 2008 correction measure. A number of pensioners in category (c) started to see a betterment in 2009 or thereafter.

These people have by now had their pension adjusted fully or partly, as shown on the table.

Pensioners in category (d) over the space of 11 years, from 2008 to 2018, both years included, have not had any correction to their pension in stark contrast with those who have had an increase of €2,266 so far.

This comes as a result of the annual capping-tied correction dropping from Lm200 in 2008 to €200 in 2009. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the original Lm200 was torpedoed by the Gonzi administration upon having it reduced to 3/7 of its value to €200 and confirmed as adequate by Premier Joseph Muscat from 2013 to date.

Thus, a correction of Lm600 taking three years at Lm200 per annum, would take seven years at €200 per annum. This has resulted in a big chunk of pensioners dying before receiving at least their very first miserable installment of €200, which means that the more one is being robbed the lesser one gets: even zero.

Muscat was as mean as the PN and the annual adjustment remained pegged at €200 per annum. On top of this, there was zero installment for the year 2010. If the correction were kept seamlessly at its 2008 value of €466 annually, the capping would by now (2018) have increased by Lm2,200 = €5,125 to €12,185 + €5,125 = €17,310, with the great majority of pensioners achieving full compensation.

Correcting the pensions of some and ignoring that of others is both immoral and clearly smacks of discrimination, rendering the exercise anti-constitutional.

So, the PN and PL have worked in tandem against the interest of uncompensated pensioners for 11 years assuming they can politically get away with it. What more misery is in store post the 2017 shotgun election?                                        

We are still living under the Mintoffian regime thanks to the PL. Has our country so far been run by pharaohs rather than prime ministers? Is this democracy? Yes. We do need a new style of politics.

This is what Simon Busuttil rightly suggested. I’ve heard that one before though!

We need to put into practice what the Constitution lays down. Democratic procedure must come from the heart of the incumbent prime minister after a long examination of conscience and counselling rather than having crystal clear issues of unfairness raised by the citizen – issues that should not crop up in the first place – being contested at a court of law run by a judiciary that has recently been awarded a treasury pension by the executive, with the judiciary members skipping the queue of treasury pension holders who, over the last 11 years failed to receive a single cent in deserved compensation.

The reason behind the treasury award to the judiciary out of the blue is a point worth pondering upon. The citizen, now up against a powerful judiciary, is too weak to contest the will of the executive.

The executive collects taxes from that same citizen who is seen to foment trouble, in order to pay hired lawyers to trash that same citizen in a court of law. The executive’s usual defence is “the common good”.

This puts an end to the citizen’s claim. So, for “common good’’ read “usual empty lie’’.

 One caricature reads: ‘Buying holy pictures (as a passage) to heaven.’ So is it a case that MPs from all sides, having two or more pensions, have a better chance of salvation? Shame on the PL’s past and present.

Year Adjustment (€) Year Adjustment (€)
2008 466 2014 200
2009 200 2015 200
2010 ZERO 2016 200
2011 200 2017 200
2012 200 2018 200
2013 200 Total increase 2,266

Joseph Grech is a school teacher by profession.

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