Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 12


SOME years ago the idea of a few retired professionals getting together to voice their demands for all types of rights: economic, social, representation... the defence of elderly people's dignity was unthinkable.

It was unthinkable but it goes without saying that such a group was necessary. And as always, as an idea matures in the heart of society, unrelated, distant, focal points which vary in terms of their aims and in their official form, start appearing. And the seed grows and spreads with real force. This is the situation we are in at the moment. What is true is that it is very difficult to make progress with only the power of reason, when even the offi­cially formed trade unions carry out their duties and use their ability to pressure exclusi­vely in defence of the active worker, since pensioners are not able to form their own trade unions to defend their rights, demands and desires and the common claims of elderly peo­ple in general regardless of their former labour or professional activity.

These proceedings or “class” movements, like feminism for example, are in reality real fights that go on in time. Progress has always been slow, but it is precisely for this reason that a push in the right direction is needed, continual pressure in essential to preserve the spirit of justice which inspires such movements.

It is true that a group of useful elderly people who could benefit society –that would at the same time be an extraordinary decisive force if they achieved a minimum amount of unity and coherence– is paradoxically a very young group. At the end of the XIX century and beginning of the XX century life expectancy was about 64-65 years old; logically there were very few people who lived longer than this, and these survivors were hardly considered to be enough to carry out useful and efficient tasks, jobs or duties for the group; on the contrary they were seen to be more of a burden.

It is obvious that things are very different today: those statistical or actuarial 65 year olds have within the same concept, have become 81 year olds, which means that, in fact, there is a considerable percentage of 85 year olds who are completely sound of mind. This term is understood as being conscious, able to reason, have good sense, care... wis­dom. Faculties that, true to their real meaning, give them the skills and ability to perform tasks that other people who are probably less capable do at the moment.

These are the realities identified in the circles that are most affected by them. They are overcome, accepted or promoted: now isn’t the time for useless accusations, and although we haven't had much success up to now, it probably wouldn't hurt raising our voices to those who do make an effort, to voice our demands to be valued and to receive the diffe­rent treatment we need and deserve, to the general public, to people, to companies, to entities who are in contact with this group.

Elderly people who are really defenceless, exhausted, like the aforementioned, are a very small minority nowadays, they probably count for less than the modern day 'elderly' 55 year olds who are people who have taken early retirement. The majority of the “elderly” population goes to the doctor as much as any other mature but younger person. There is basically one single word that distinguishes one from the other: refired. Our elderly man or woman does not have a certain employment status in society, he or she has not retired from a certain company: they are just retired, and this is a categorical, all embracing word, one which could also be used at any other moment or situation that has similar connotations as that used to describe decrepit old people in years gone by. Some­one is retired, a pensioner. And that's it.

Would a pensioner be elected for a managerial position or to be the president of something? Would they be chosen to represent a group of people in some organisation? Would they be valued by rights of their capabilities to advise on issues that they obviously have more experience and knowledge on than many 'active' people? Would the category and EMERITUS rights be applied to any profession?

What a huge mistake is made by underestimating their capabilities, values and possi­bilities so that the most is got out of such a large number (and one which is growing) of apt, capable and skilful pensioners!

In all the editions of this “EUROMEETINGS' magazine we advocate consideration, res­pect and the big opportunities that in fact are robbed from what we have named the RETI­RED CLASS. The period that we are currently in is comparable to that of the “suffragette” women of the XIX century. Wouldn't it be a good idea to advocate the establishment of a code, a DECLARATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS FOR THE ELDERLY? A simple draft would take up too much space on these pages.