The Croatian government has backed down on amendments to its pension system, reinstating a retirement age of 65, after sustained pressure from trade unions. The changes would have raised the retirement age to 67 for both men and women from 2033, instead of 2038 as previously planned, and cut back payments for workers retiring early.
However, the proposal caused anger among many Croatians. Three of the country’s main trade unions, including ETUC affiliates SSSH and NHS, launched a ‘67 is too much’ campaign, gathering almost 750,000 signatures on a petition calling for a referendum on the retirement age. The government did a U-turn to avoid facing defeat in a public vote.
“This is a great joint success for trade unions and citizens,” said NHS President Kresimir Sever. “We have shown that they cannot make decisions about working and social conditions without talking to unions, as workers' representatives. This is the fourth time that unions, together with citizens, have been able to prevent the adoption of bad legal provisions by a referendum initiative. Every government must know that if we need to, we will do it again.”