Two million workers won’t make it to retirement, labor union says
More than half of the working population is unable to perform their current job function until retirement age, according to labor union CNV. Some 78 percent of members surveyed by the union said they want to make use of a scheme for early retirement. The union interviewed over 2,200 members over the age of 45 working in both the public and private sectors.
The union said it will press the issue with the government to quickly develop schemes making it possible for someone to stop working earlier. "At least two million working people will not make it to their retirement. At the same time, we also have to work longer and longer. This social issue requires a solution that goes beyond just the current bandage,” said Patrick Fey, a vice-chair at CNV and a pension negotiator. Time is running out, and if nothing is done, hundreds of thousands of people who do not fund their own pensions for early retirement will be at risk, he said.
Fey pointed out that in the 2019 pension agreement, the social partners agreed on an early retirement scheme, or RVU. But 63 percent of the respondents think the net amount, 1,200 euros per month, is too low to stop work early. Some 55 percent also indicate that their employers are reluctant to send people into early retirement earlier.
A quarter of the surveyed members would like to switch to a job with a reduced workload, but half of them said that the employer does not want to cooperate. Moreover, according to 77 percent there is no possibility for retraining for another type of work. "Many workers are stuck in a job that is too burdensome. They cannot make it until their retirement age, but they cannot switch to a less heavy job either,” Fey said. “We call on [employers] to invest in the sustainable employability of their workers. Many employees over the age of 50 have a wealth of experience, and are of great value to a company. It would be a shame if this group retires too early after a lifetime of hard work," said Fey.
Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that people should be able to retire after having worked for 45 years. Fey said, "The social partners also suggested this before. The minister does not feel that way. It would be impracticable and unaffordable. But with these figures, a solution to this problem is inevitable."
Fey also mentioned that the Minister of Pensions in Belgium is proposing a retirement plan for after 42 years of work. "What is impracticable and unaffordable in the Netherlands, apparently is possible in Belgium. It would be nice if the Netherlands followed Belgium's example and allowed workers a decent old age."
Reporting by ANP