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People’s initiative Work pension challenge targets age-related unfair dismissals

A young woman works next to an older man

Some older employees fear being axed from the workplace because they cost to much to employ.

(Keystone)

A lobby group representing the interests of older workers has launched a people’s initiative to reform the occupational pension system to reduce the incentive for employers to sack people once they pass the age of 50.

The Workfair 50+external link group announced on Tuesday its intention of forcing a nationwide vote on the issue. It wants pension laws to be changed to make workplace pension fund contributions the same for everyone regardless of age.

+ What is a people’s initiative?

At present, both workers and employers pay increasing amounts as employees move into older age brackets. Workfair 50+ said it had conducted a survey that found 1,200 people who felt that age discrimination had led to their dismissal.

The "Occupational Benefits - work instead of poverty" initiative is looking to gather 100,000 signatures by January 10, 2020, which would spark a nationwide vote. Organisers of the initiative said their minimum expectation is to force the government to come up with an acceptable counter-proposal if the initiative gets off the ground.

Number six

This is the sixth initiative to be launched since the start of the year, tackling subjects as diverse as immigration, the election of judges, tobacco advertising, child protection and animal welfare.

In 2010, voters rejected a proposal backed by both the government and parliament to reform the occupational pension system, which would have resulted in reduced payouts had it been successful.

Overhauling Switzerland’s creaking state pension system has also proved difficult. Last year, voters turned down a proposed reforms, including an idea to raise the age of retirement for women. This was the third time in 20 years that proposals to overhaul the system had been shot down at the polls.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; mga/urs

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