Germany chemical union warns against raising pension age to 67

17 November 2010 16:02  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany is not ready to lift its retirement age to 67, from 65, the country’s chemicals and energy union IG BCE said on Wednesday.

The union’s warning came after recent massive protests and strikes in neighbouring France against pension reforms to lift the retirement age to 62, from 60, brought that country to a halt.

IG BCE said Germany’s government should not press ahead with its plan to lift the pension age because older workers had only poor prospects in Europe’s largest economy.

There were “just not enough jobs” for older workers, and the jobs on offer were often not suited to older workers, the union said.

“Many older workers are destined for unemployment,” it said.

In fact, one out of six workers who became a pensioner in 2009 had been unemployed before becoming eligible for a pension.

IG BCE also said that many older workers had health problems, or they were not sufficiently qualified, to be able to work until the age of 67.

In the chemical and plastics industry, for example, one out of four workers went into early retirement before 65 because of health problems, it said.

The union called on government and employers to take meaningful measures to create a sufficient number of job opportunities for older employees – before going ahead with the increase in the pension age.

Germany’s government plans to phase in the higher pensionable age in increments, beginning in 2012.

Depending on the date of birth, workers born after 1946 will need to work longer before becoming eligible for their pensions. A worker born in 1964 or later would have to work the full additional two years before becoming eligible for a government pension.

In a report issued today, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said that funding for Germany’s pension system was in better shape because of the economic recovery.

Currently, the levy for a worker's pension contribution (“Rentenbeitragssatz”), which is effectively a payroll tax, is pegged at 19.9% of gross salary.

The levy is expected to exceed 20% in coming years because of the country’s ageing population.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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