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Trade unions attack pension reforms

Serge Gaillard (left), secretary-general of the trade union federation, together with its president, Paul Rechsteiner. Keystone

The Trade union federation has sharply criticised government plans for the reform of old-age pensions. At its annual general assembly in Berne, the federation said the changes amounted to the dismantling of the scheme, introduced over 50 years ago.

This content was published on May 15, 2000 - 12:25

Serge Gaillard, secretary-general of the federation, said on Monday the financial situation of the pension scheme had been over-dramatised in order to cut back payments and weaken the scheme as a whole.

He said that, in particular, the proposed measures do not take into account the still huge differences in salaries paid to men and women. Gaillard said the reforms would therefore affect women above all.

The government's projected reforms foresee an increase in the retirement age of women to 65, and the elimination of widow's pensions in 70 per cent of cases. The federation says the measures would be disastrous for older women looking for jobs.

The trade union umbrella body also renewed its backing for the planned Solidarity Foundation, due to be created with 500 tonnes of excess gold from the National Bank's reserves, and reiterated its call for the other 800 tonnes due to be sold off to be used to bolster the old-age pension scheme.

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