The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, together with the social dialogue table, made up of Workers’ Commissions, UGT and the CEOE and Cepyme employers, have agreed on a pension reform1 that will force two more years of work, from the 64.5 years of the current retirement age to 66.5 and that will come into effect in 2024. To do this, they plan to penalize early retirement: cuts of up to 21% in ordinary early retirement and bonuses for those who decide to extend their period.
The main reason given for this reform by the government is related to the so-called “boom generation” of those born between 1946 and 1964. If the Spanish population pyramid is observed, it can be seen that “boomers” are more numerous than any of the previous and subsequent generations2. Between 45 and 49 years old, there are 3 million employed people, compared to 80,000 between 16 and 19 years old or 760,000 between 20 and 24. According to the Ministry of Social Security, this would cause pension spending to be 2.5 points of GDP in 2050. With this reform, the government intends to reduce it to 1.3 points.
The reactions from both the group of pensioners and any union other than CCOO or UGT did not wait. CGT released a statement accusing the Government of making laws to continue to progressively dismantle the Public Pension System3. ELA, the Basque union4, criticizes that the reform does not respond to the demands of the general strike of January 30 of last year and that it will entail further cuts.
Although extending the working life for two years is positive for the Social Security coffers because they do not have to pay a pension for the 24 months that they are still active, the government does not seem to take into account the impact of this measure on the long-term unemployed population in a labor market that considers people over 45 as old or the impact on youth, with unemployment higher than 38%, double the European average. Presumably part of the reason for this measure is to offer arguments to the European Union to agree to the collection of the Next Generation recovery funds.
As always, and in the face of this frontal attack on the public pension system and the popular classes, the only solution is to take back the streets and participate in whatever mobilizations and actions are called in their defense. Only organized street protest will be able to knock down the attacks against the working class.
1 https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/presidente/actividades/Paginas/2021/010721-acuerdo-pensiones.aspx 2 https://www.elindependiente.com/economia/2021/07/02/9-millones-de-espanoles-se-veran-afectados-por-el-recorte-de-pensiones-de-escriva/ 3 https://cgt.org.es/cgt-considera-que-el-acuerdo-alcanzado-para-la-reforma-de-las-pensiones-es-un-nuevo-ataque-contra-el-sistema-publico-de-pensiones-y-las-clases-populares/ 4 https://www.ela.eus/es/noticias/ela-denuncia-que-la-reforma-impone-mas-recortes-en-jubilaciones-anticipadas-y-calculo-de-pensiones