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Engineers syndicate outraged over 'last minute' hurdle to planned meeting

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Mar 15,2016 - Last updated at Mar 15,2016

AMMAN — The Jordan Engineers Association (JEA) expressed dismay on Tuesday over a "last minute" development that forced it to postpone its pension fund commission meeting.

The commission was scheduled to meet at Al Hussein Youth City's Cultural Palace on Wednesday to discuss proposed changes to retirement regulations, having obtained the required official approvals, but the facility's administration claimed it could not host the meeting due to "a power outage", Anas Abu Khdeir, JEA media coordinator, told The Jordan Times.

The JEA offered to fix the electrical malfunction in cooperation with the electricity company but the palace's administration refused, Khdeir said.

He added that the association contacted the company to inquire about the problem, but it replied that no one had reported any malfunction and that the power supply to the Cultural Palace has not been disrupted. 

In a statement, the JEA held accountable every official party that hindered holding the meeting and JEA President Majid Tabba said the new date and location for the meeting will be announced later. 

Officials at the Cultural Palace were not available for comment despite several attempts by The Jordan Times.

In remarks in January, Tabba dismissed claims that the pension fund has failed.

The syndicate released the findings of an actuarial study which revealed that the fund reached a break-even point of equal pension subscriptions and pensions in 2014 instead of the expected year of 2017.

The fund will also reach a second break-even point — where pension subscriptions and investment profits would equal its expenditure — in 2019 instead of 2021.

The study expected a third break-even point — where the total revenues would be equal to total expenditures — to be reached in 2028 instead of 2031.

Earlier in February, Tabba said the JEA council has proposed a gradual increase in pension fund subscription fees as of 2018 and over a three-year period, but said no measures will be taken to raise the pension age.

The proposal aims at pushing the second and third break-even points from 2019 to 2035 and from 2028 to 2046 respectively, according to the president of the JEA, which includes some 130,000 members.

 

At the time, several members of the JEA organised a protest in front of the Professional Associations Complex to protest moves by the JEA to raise pension premiums.

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