Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 5


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.


In 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.


It 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 topic.


My 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. Our age 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 already contributed.


These 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, we cannot.



José Lidón

Chairman of the Association of Retired and Pensioners

of the European Savings Banks