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Worn out A bleak future for older builders

Over 18'000 construction workers took to the streets of Zurich recently in protest at plans to raise the retirement age and cut pensions. More strikes are threatened.

The strike called by the construction unions Unia external linkand Synaexternal link came in response to the impending expiry of the current national working contract for the building sector. In May, the Swiss Builders' Associationexternal link representing employers announced that there were not enough funds to finance early retirement and that workers would either have to work until age 62 or accept a 30% drop in their pension plans. But the unions have suggested that bosses and workers instead contribute more to the pension pot.

"Construction workers retire at 60 because they are physically exhausted and the companies no longer offer them any jobs," said Nico Lutz, from the Unia union. Swiss Public Television, SRF, wanted to find out more about life on the building site for older construction workers, and the health risks they face. 

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