Workers say no to SSS premium hike

AMIDST the Social Security System’s plan to increase members’ contributions, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno reiterated its opposition to the hike, saying the move will increase the burden of workers already suffering from meager wages and high prices.

The premium hike, which was already approved by the SSS management, is merely awaiting the approval of Pres. Noynoy Aquino before it can be implemented.

In a radio interview, Marissu Bugante, SSS vice-president for public affairs, said that the 0.6 per cent increase in members’ contribution will mean a P30.00 increase in the contribution of a member earning P10,000 per month.

“An increase in SSS premiums would mean a reduction in the already meager take-home pay of workers. The money which workers use to buy food and other basic needs would surely be reduced,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“Workers find it hard to agree to a premium hike because the benefits that they are getting from the SSS are very meager. They don’t see increasing premiums as a way of saving for the rainy days,” he said.

The current minimum SSS pension is P1,200 a month, while an SSS member for 20 years receives P2,400 a month.

“The SSS can increase workers’ benefits and extend its actuarial life without increasing members’ premium. It can collect billions of unremitted contributions and enforce penalties for capitalists who refuse to remit contributions,” he said.

In a presentation at the House of Representatives, SSS officials claimed that as of 2010, uncollected contributions amounted to P8.5 billion. Companies which fail to remit members’ contributions are penalized with P10,000 for every P25,000 worth of unremitted contributions.

“The SSS should also be transparent about earnings from and losses in the business ventures that it has entered into. Workers have been opposing the agency’s investments in various businesses but the government paid no heed to our calls,” Soluta said.

“SSS officials have been saying that earnings from these investments will be used to improve members’ benefits. Where are these earnings and why are workers’ contributions still being increased?” he added.

“Workers will definitely be more angry at Pres. Aquino if he approves this premium hike. He has after all rejected calls for a significant wage hike and continues to legalize contractual employment,” he said.

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