Years ago I was part of a jury that gave a literary
award to a tale based on the wellknown story of the snails that had to cross a
road and they decided to do it together. The message was: we can do it together;
scattered, we will be crushed. Our voices, if scattered, will not be taken into
account; if associated, we will be able to make our voices heard. If there is
something understood by the politicians, that is the power of vote. I remember
one time when the election of a deputy depended on two votes.
the collective negotiation there are two sides that negotiate: employers and
workers, all represented by their trade unions. Both sides have something to ask
for and something to offer: economic and social improvements in exchange of work
and social peace. But, what can the trade unions representing the pensioners
offer? Everything will be at the expense of the working population, resulting in
an intergeneration confrontation.
seems obvious that the elderly must be united and negotiate with the State, that
is, with the politicians, because we do have something to offer: our vote, the
most valuable thing for them. Our governments legislate following the guidelines
of the European Union, that is why our Group promotes the creation of a wide
interprofessional platform of European associations of the elderly that, without
losing our identity, will be strong enough to make the voice of the elderly
heard in the new Europe. As it was approved in the Assembly in Platja d’Aro, we
will invite different institutions to our next 'Euromeeting' to discuss this
intention is not to exhaust the list of topics, but now I will talk about some
important subjects still pending:
To keep watch on the governments’ tendency to make pensions less dependent upon
the State, and more upon personal savings. I am in favor, of course, of the
individual savings for the old age (retirement and pension funds, insurances,
and so on), but only as a voluntary and complementary system, not a basic one,
because the so called 'social contract' (contributions of those with a paid job
in order for the pensioners to receive money, hoping that those who will come
after them will also contribute, so they will receive money as well), is the
only safe protection against extreme poverty in the old age. Young people, our
children and grandchildren, as Barry Ingham says, must have the greatest
interest in preserving the social contract. We have to help them remember that
we were yesterday what they are now, and tomorrow they will be what we are now.
allows us to see the road of life. They,
the young people, can only see the first part of it.
The legislation of many countries might be nearly unconstitutional when they
forbid the association of the pensioners in trade unions as a class, and, in
fact, what they try to do is to disperse us when allowing the association in
general trade unions.
Compatibility of the pensions with some paid jobs.
Improvement of the pensions for widows and orphans.
Reductions in taxes of the State pensions, which are deferred salaries that
topics, and other that are very important to achieve a better consideration of
the elderly, will have to be expressed before the European institutions and,
what is more important, before our society. They will have success while
unanimously supported by those interested. We can do it together. Scattered,
of the Association of Retired and Pensioners
European Savings Banks