Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pensioners protest in Spain

Pensioner groups ask for more limits on early retirement in Spain

Various associations representing pensioners in Spain have called on the Spanish parliament to reject the government’s proposals to raise the legal age of retirement to 67. They also rejected the government’s plans to raise the number of years for calculating pensions because they believe this will lead to a reduction in the amount paid out to pensioners. In addition, they also asked that the overhaul of the social security system in Spain take into account early retirement and asked for this to be paid for exclusively by companies.

In their first meeting of the year the Commission for the ‘Toledo Pact’, set up to reach consensus on the reform of Spain's pension system, held discussions with the chairman of the Spanish Confederation of Organizations for the Elderly (CEOMA), José Luis Méler, and the chairman of the Spanish Democratic Union for Pensioners and the Retired (UDP), Luis Martín Pindado, both of whom showed their disapproval for the proposals set out by the government on retirement laws last month.

Méler advocated getting rid a legal age of retirement all together and making it entirely ‘flexible and voluntary’ given that he believes that to set an age of retirement contravenes the principle of non-discrimination both in the Spanish constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He also spoke about the need to get rid of early retirement paid for by the state although he said that in some cases it was acceptable. For example if it was going to save jobs for younger employees in the same company.

Méler also criticised the situation of pensioners in Spain and pointed out that 28% are at risk of living in poverty (the European average is 19%) and asked for the minimum pension to be raised. He said that many pensioners could hardly get by on just 400 euros a month. He also asked for special tax breaks for pensioners.

Martín Pindado, recognized that the rising numbers of pensioners would put a strain on the state but at the same time highlighted the current strength of the social security system. He was less forthcoming in expressing his views on the age of retirement but rejected forcing people to work until the age of 67.

On the other hand he spoke about increasing youth employment between the ages of 18 and 23 years old, something which in his opinion would help boost social security revenue more than raising the age of retirement
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posted by Euroresidentes at 10:38 AM



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