“Antisocial nonsense”: leftists and unions criticize the proposal to retire at the age of 70 – economics

Trade unions and left-wing politicians reacted indignantly to the proposal to raise the retirement age to 70 years. The VdK social association also opposed a similar initiative by the president of the Gesamtmetall employers’ union, Stefan Wolf. In an interview with the newspapers of the media group, Funke spoke in favor of a longer working life and justified it, among others, by aging society.

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“If you look at the demographic development and the burden on social and pension funds, the reserves are exhausted. We will have to work longer and harder, ”said Wolf. “Gradually we will have to reach the retirement age of 70 – also because people are living longer and longer.” Otherwise, the system will no longer be financially viable in the medium term.

The representatives of the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the trade unions IG Bau and IG Metall disagreed. DGB board member Anja Piel explained that the initiative was “nothing more than a pension cut with an announcement”. Many workers would no longer “be healthy until retirement,” she said. “For those who work in care, on a construction site or in factories, working long hours is not an option.”

Those who work hard have “a much shorter life expectancy” anyway and therefore receive a shorter retirement pension, Piel said. Even in an aging society, the federal government has a duty to “make good and adequate retirement a safety promise.”

Wolf’s statement does not correspond to “the reality of people’s lives in our country,” said Axel Knoerig, chairman of the labor group of the union faction, dpa. If you want to work more, you should be able to do it. But it depends on the profession, “to what extent this is even possible,” said Knoerig. “For sustainable pensions it is important that the three pillars of pensions – occupational, statutory and private – are strengthened, rather than placing an additional burden on older workers.”

Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of Gesamtmetall.Photo: Imago Images / Eibner

Left-wing leader Dietmar Bartsch also reacted indignantly. “Suggestions such as retiring only from the age of 70 or a 42-hour working week are anti-social nonsense,” Bartsch told the German editorial network. In this unique situation, employers’ associations would have to fulfill their social responsibility at sky-high prices. “Social peace cannot be kindled.”

VdK President Verena Bentele suggested that statutory pension insurance should be on a more solid financial basis. “Instead of unrealistic considerations about raising the retirement age further, we need to strengthen the statutory pension insurance. This means that in the future, everyone will pay there – apart from workers, officials, self-employed workers and politicians, ”said Bentele. Such “retirement for all” strengthens the system and leads to greater justice – said the head of the association. This has long been a fact in Austria.

Gradually raise the retirement age to 67

Currently, the country plans to gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 years without deductions until 2029. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) rejects further rate hike. Already in May, after economists pressed for retirement at the age of 70, he said: “We agreed in the coalition that we would not raise the statutory retirement age. And nothing will change it”.

IG-Bau national president Robert Feiger accused metal employers of wanting to generate a new “class of old age poverty” among artisans and industrial workers. “The harder you work, the faster you will fall into the retirement hole,” Feiger told media group Funke newspapers. For professional groups, such as carpenters, roofers or scaffolders, even a pension at the age of 65 is “too long,” argued the union’s leader.

Like the head of VdK Bentele, Bartsch also referred to the example of Austria. “Instead of a pension only at the age of 70, all citizens pay there – including politicians and managers,” said the left-wing politician. “In Austria, the average pension is EUR 800 higher than in Germany and is paid from the age of 65. What Austria can do, Germany must also be able to do. ” (dpa)

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