ETUC Unhappy With Being Ignored Over Development of Active Ageing Index
02 October 2012 (PLANSPONSOREurope.com) – The European Trade Union Confederation has slammed European policy makers for ignoring the voice of the continent’s workers in developing the European Commission’s new active ageing index.
The index, a joint project between the European Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the European Centre in Vienna, aims to create a new pan-continental standard for gauging future life expectancy.
But critics of the scheme fear it could be used as a stick to beat future increases in retirement age out of certain European governments.
A spokesperson for the UNECfE admitted he index will be used “as a guide to influence policy” in “the same way the Economic Forum uses any other aggregated indices”.
But she said it will look at countries’ life-expectancies, quality of health and care facilities and their workers’ abilities to participate in paid and unpaid activities.
She added the first stage of the process will look at workers, with plans for measuring these factors in future years forthcoming.
The findings of the first stage will be launched at the closing conference of the European Conference for the European Year of Active Ageing in December.
However ETUC Secretary Claudia Menne told PLANSPONSOR Europe that while the ETUC welcomes moves to improve conditions for the employment of older workers it rejects any move to go beyond “traditional boundaries”.
She said: “My personal view is that the whole policy agenda is driven to increase the pension age and to abolish mandatory pension ages.”
And she added ETUC was unhappy that it had not been involved in the development of the index.
“We are going to examine this new index in our meetings with our affiliates and we have to see what the direction is,” she warned.
“We are not very happy that we are not involved in developing these kinds of indicators. We are social partners. We should be part of this new agenda setting.
“We have a role to play as the representative of workers. We should be part of the debate on social policies. It is strange we were not consulted.”
Jerry Moriarty, director of policy, at the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF), told PLANSPONSOR Europe that Ireland is one country under pressure to implement various reforms from Europe.
But he insisted it is ahead of a good many its European neighbours of taking action in this area in any case.
“In Ireland we are probably more advanced than most companies in terms of increasing state pension age,” he added.
“It is going to age 66 in 2014, 67 in 2021 and age 68 in 2028 which in terms of what countries are doing in terms of retirement age is quite a rapid movement.
“I think we’re probably ahead of the policy in terms of retirement age increases. I’m not sure how much scope there is for doing more.”