As workers across Europe face longer working lives, the toll on those in physically or emotionally tough and dangerous jobs gets worse.
In Belgium, the retirement age is set to rise to 67 by 2030. The three Belgian trade union confederations ACV/CSC, ABVV/FGTB and ACLVB/CGSLB have made a joint proposal to facilitate early retirement for workers in arduous jobs.
The social partners have already reached an agreement within the National Pensions Committee (CNP) on a common definition of hard work, covering jobs with physical constraints, mental or emotional pressure, higher safety risks or complicated work organisation.
"The FGTB, the CSC and CGSLB are waiting for the CNP and the government to recognise the trade unions’ expertise, based on their knowledge of the situation,” said a union statement. Talks continue with the aim of putting a system in place by January 2018 or 2019, although the Belgian government wants early retirement to be subject to budget limits.