The challenge is to guarantee the adequacy and sustainability of pension systems, not to raise the retirement age, as ETUC General Secretary John Monks pointed out yesterday at the informal EPSCO Council, in the wake of the European Commission's proposal. Employers are already not keeping workers on the job until statutory retirement age nor are they creating the conditions for hiring young people.
John Monks commented: "The policies we are seeing implemented today go in the wrong direction, giving tax or social security reductions to businesses on the pretext of promoting employment. What needs to be done is to guarantee existing resources, but also identify new ones by making use of all economic leverage, and in particular financial leverage."
The ETUC also highlighted the fundamental principles of pension systems, namely that the bulk of retirement income must be supported by schemes based on solidarity within and between generations and must be guaranteed by the public authorities, in accordance with Convention 102 of the International Labour Organisation. Indeed, for the ETUC, the purpose of pension schemes is to guarantee a decent living to retired people, not to sustain financial markets.
The ETUC will give detailed consideration to the Green Paper in due course.