TRADE UNIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN CHANGING PENSION SYSTEM

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MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Alexander Zhukov, the deputy prime minister, instructed the Finance Ministry and the Health and Social Development Ministry to work with employers and representatives of trade unions on proposed changes to the pension system, connected with the introduction of additional pension insurance.

Mr. Zhukov, while filling in for Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, gave these instructions during a session of the Government on Wednesday "I believe that the trade unions do not fully understand what you propose," Mr. Zhukov said.

The draft law "On Introducing Changes and Additions to the Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with Additional Pension Insurance" was discussed at the session and will be finalized within two weeks.

At the session, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said the Government should ensure that the pensions would be more than 50% of the wage. Today, pensions are about 30% of the wage and according to international standards, they should not be less than 40%. According to Mr. Kudrin, the volume of deductions from wages to the pension fund is not sufficient to ensure worthy pension.

Igor Artemyev, the head of the federal antitrust service, called the government's attention to the methods of determining the current cost of securities into which the managing companies invest the pension funds. "The legislation is not perfect: one can buy at the market cost and assess at face value, and this will lead to the distortion of the structure of the portfolio revenues," Mr. Artemyev said. As a result, the population will first have raised expectations and then disappointment. Mr. Artemyev said that all market players should use the same methods to determine the cost of securities.

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