Whoever wants to pay the membership fee, and not be taken by force! - a pensioner filed an initiative before the Constitutional Court
We are talking about the annual membership fee of 1.850.000 euros, in the spending of which not even 5-6 percent of the total number of so-called members participate, says Miroslav Trlin, who is challenging an article of the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance before the Constitutional Court
The pensioner Miroslav Trlin from Kumanovo submitted to the Constitutional Court an Initiative to challenge Article 115 of the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, which reads:
"A pension beneficiary, with his consent, has a portion of his pension withheld to provide funds necessary for the payment of death benefits to his family members and for membership in a pensioners' association (membership fee)."
Every new pensioner, even before receiving his first pension, is offered in the PIOM Fund to sign a document in which he accepts to pay money to the Solidarity Fund of 150 denars, from which the death benefits of members of his family are paid, and at the same time he becomes a part of and from the Pensioners' Association and must pay a monthly membership fee of MKD 30. There is almost no "new" pensioner who does not want to give money to the Solidarity Fund, because after his death, the family receives MKD 30.000 for funeral services, but everyone does not want to be a member of a pensioners' association at the same time.
- I am starting the initiative because of a condition - if you want to have part of your pension withheld to provide funds needed for the payment of post-death benefits for family members, it means that you automatically agree to a mandatory membership fee in a linear amount (currently MKD 30 per month ) regardless of the amount of the pension, which is a hidden pyramidal organization - says Trlin.
But as Trlin notes, and many pensioners who spoke about it these days at the pensioners' protests, very few pensioners are involved in the activities of the associations, such as various trips, participation in sports matches or similar.
- We are talking about the membership fee, which on an annual level is 1.850.000 euros, in the spending of which not even 5-6 percent of the total number of so-called members participate. That is why this civil association is formally the most numerous both in the state and beyond, and it is legal to pay membership fees in a civil association through a state institution, that is, through the PIOM Fund - says Trlin.
According to the figures he presents, about 94 percent of all pensioners are part of the Solidarity Fund, and are automatically members of the Association of Pensioners. Thus, 315.000 out of 335.000 pensioners pay membership fees.
- Membership in civil associations is an expression of free will and conviction without conditioning and pressure. The method of evasive membership (membership through the PIOM Fund as a state institution, and not by signing an application for membership in the association), without keeping internal documentation in the associations themselves about the membership and its mandatory updating every two years, without transparent operation and reporting on material and financial operation before the entire membership, is enough to doubt the legality of the operation and the fulfillment of the alleged statutory provisions in achieving the goals for which they were established - indicates the pensioner who decided to seek justice before the Constitutional Court.
He emphasizes that he is not against having an Association of pensioners, but it should be on a voluntary basis and be strengthened.
- The final goal of the initiative is not to extinguish pensioners' associations and to destroy positive things proven in practice, such as the Solidarity Fund as a good solution for the largest number of pensioners who have low incomes anyway, and have no alternative opportunities for additional income - says Trlin. .
On the official page of the Union of Associations of Pensioners of Macedonia it is written that it is a non-governmental non-political multi-ethnic association, in which 53 associations of pensioners are members, voluntarily united for the purpose of protecting and promoting the common goals and interests of pensioners.