Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 6

Full of hope I made a trip to ISDABE in the Costa del Sol to participate in the Euromeeting 2001, organised by the 'Group of Pensioners and Retired Staff from European Savings Banks'.


Years ago, maybe five, an old colleague from the trade union, Barry Ingham, from England, wrote Gunnar Caspersen, who at the time was the general secretary of the Norwegian trade union of bank employees, to inform him of the existence of an organisation for retired employees from savings banks in Spain. Gunnar sent me the said information with his own comments. Since then, there have been a series of letters, telephone calls, discussions in Sweden and additional contacts with Barry. I got in touch with my colleague Kaisa Bratt, president of the central trade union in Swedbank, and with Enrique Rodríguez, in charge of 'international affairs' in the bank. As a result, some groups of pensioners from Swedish savings banks, more or less 1,000 people, signed and sent an application form in order to be accepted as members of the 'Group of Pensioners and Retired Staff from European Savings Banks'.


I had the opportunity of participating in the Management Board meeting on May 9th, and in the General Assembly on May 14th. There was also a meeting in Marbella, on May 11th, with some organisations which want to develop a network in order to create a platform.


The Management Board approved the new statutes, including the new name of the organisation, 'European Group of Pensioners from Savings Banks, Banks and Similar Entities'. This new name takes into account the fact that some Savings Banks from several countries have been converted in banks, and in this way the group makes easier the acceptance of members, even though they might not come from savings banks. I was also able to present the way in which pensioners from the Swedish bank system are organised. According to the received information, England is in this respect the country with the best organisation, where there is a national system with regional organisations which have their own annual assemblies and management boards. Barry Ingham assured that the system does not have trade union character, that which allows the bank system to participate in the financing of the necessary meetings. I could also observe in the board meeting that one of the members is an association of retired university professors. The statutes establish that every member country has one vote in the General Assembly for every 1,000 members, with a maximum of 4 votes per country. There are three vicepresidents, and a future vice-presidency could be a Swedish representative.


I had the opportunity to speak during the General Assembly. In my opinion, we must intensify our work in order to attract new organisations, and a new executive committee within the Management Board must be allowed to work actively during those periods between the annual meetings. We must continue working to create bases or platforms to communicate with other organisations. I do not believe, however, that in the near future it will be possible to establish negotiations referring to pension levels in the different countries. It might be possible the establishment of a minimum pension in Europe. What I do see possible, in my opinion, is a dialogue about the social conditions of retired people in general, as a base to create additional contacts and relations with other organisations.


I also promised the participants to transfer the received information to my colleagues in the Nordic countries and, for example, to do a presentation during the meeting for former counselors of the 'Nordic Union of Bank Employees', planned in Copenhagen in August of this year.


The impression I received during the meetings in ISDABE is that the organisation works seriously to protect the interests of retired people, and pays attention to everything related to the encouragement of good relations and a good atmosphere during the annual meetings. More than 400 people participated this year, and it seems that, for lack of space, the number of people had to be reduced in spite of the great number of petitions.


To finish, I would like to give thanks for the generous invitation, the pleasant treatment and the interesting excursion programme that ran smoothly throughout the entire week.


I want to wish President José Lidón Meseguer and the organisation lots of luck, and I want to give thanks for all the attention I received. I hope to be able to return and see everyone again next year in Salamanca.



Wilhelm Lemchen

Swedbank, Sweden