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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Gaps remain on bid to raise retirement age ]

Gaps remain on bid to raise retirement age

THERE is still a gap to be bridged before agreement on the retirement age between trade unions and the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV) can materialise.
OEV insists that the retirement age should increase from 63 to 65, whereas trade unions PEO and SEK are adamant to maintain the status quo.

Both sides are anticipating an initiative in April by new Labour Minister, Sotiroulla Charalambous.

OEV General Manager, Michalis Pilikos explained his federation’s stance to the Mail.
“Our position is that you cannot act to increase the viability of the social security fund without increasing the retirement age.”

He attested that OEV were not implacable as concerns the timing of when and how the measure would be passed.

“We have to be reasonable about this: the extension could be implemented gradually across both the public and the private sectors, according to an agreed timeline,” he suggested.

Pilikos added that the measure would help tackle unemployment, saying that, “you can raise the pensionable age so as to have more people in the labour market.”

The OEV man felt that the ageing population of the island (and of Europe in general) as well as the higher life expectancy of the population militated in favour of an increase in retirement age.

The two major unions, left-wing PEO and right-wing SEK, share a common position on the matter, namely, that retirement age should remain at 63.

“We do not feel that we are close to an agreement on the issue,” said the vice General Secretary of PEO, Sotiris Fellas.

“We insist on the age of 63 as the retirement age, and the Labour Minister has promised that addressing the issue is high on her list of priorities.”

Fellas stated that he was not aware of sources reported by Haravghi, which said that OEV was backing down, and had not had the impression that employers were ready to compromise.

SEK’s Petros Theocharous, who is in charge of social security, emphasised his union’s agreement with PEO and their readiness to embark on a dialogue.

“We are set on 63 as the age of retirement and are prepared to begin discussions based on this principle.”

Commenting on Charalambous’ preparedness to get things moving, Theocharous said that, “it is natural for a new government to want to make an impact on this issue and to get all interested parties around the table.”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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