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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: What about this pension? - Text of Poster of OZZ IP against extending the retirement age from 2012 [machine translation]

Date Wed, 6 Dec 2017 09:47:15 +0200


Lowering the retirement age or actually returning to the regulations from before the previous reform became a fact. Despite this, opinions on the pension system are diverse, which often results from different class positions of the participants in the debate. Often, specific arguments and analysis of the effects of lowering the retirement age are replaced by ideology. Business and politicians are still telling us that longer seniority was necessary because of the financial situation of the state, and the only alternative is to raise premiums or lower pensions. While the recent changes in the retirement age are highly opposed by liberal groups, a significant proportion of workers were relieved to retire at the age of 60 (women) and 65 (men). Where do these differences of opinion come from? Entrepreneurs have an interest in that the main proceeds to the state budget come from employees. In contrast, for employees, extending the retirement age often sounds like an extension of the sentence to a punishment. They are worried that they simply will not see a retirement benefit.

There are many industries in Poland where work is not easy, pleasant or well paid. At the same time, the people who work in them do not use any multi-employer agreements or the right to early retirement. For example, employees of production, agriculture, logistics, commerce, health care, gastronomy and many other sectors, who often perform walking or standing work, monotonous and burden the body due to physical effort or constantly repeating movements. They often work 10-12 hours a day, in harmful or difficult to bear conditions. Continuous control and shift work are another source of stress that significantly affects their health. Added to this is the destructive impact of night shifts. The so-called. "Nicks" can cause peptic ulcer disease after several years, increase the risk of cancer, adversely affect the eyesight and circulatory system, cause changes in the brain and many other diseases. According to research 9 out of 10 employees do not tolerate work at night time. Thus, a significant part of employees aged 60 is struggling with health problems and requires longer rest periods. In addition, most women bring up children and run a household, which means that they are charged with a second job, which they do free of charge. Men working on construction sites, machine operators, firefighters, welders at the age of 67 also find it difficult to perform their assigned tasks. Difficult access to medical care and its quality make it difficult to live a good old age in good condition. The argument of increasing life expectancy, which ruins pension systems, is therefore cynical and false. Employees are being blackmailed in many countries, that there is no other alternative than a longer, harder job. However, there are alternatives.

A continuation of the argument against the lowering of the retirement age is the fear of increasing the deficit of the Social Insurance Fund. There are opinions that in a few years there will be no money for any retirement benefits. This is not excluded. However, in order to increase revenues to the Social Security Fund, you do not have to burden employees with subsequent years of work. The required amount of these inflows can be achieved by changing the fiscal policy applied to employers. The majority of employees in Poland earn about PLN 3,000 gross (ie about PLN 2,100 net) or less. Not only are such low wages worsening the quality of their lives, they are also still trying to burden them with the consequences of low wages, which in practice means increasing the length of work. In 2015, the average working time of Poles amounted to 1963 hours. Meanwhile, the Norwegians or the Dutch worked on average 1424 and 1419 hours, and Germany 1371 hours. Since we work from them more, there is no reason for us to earn less.

Low wages are not only a low level of life for individual employees, low pension contributions are paid on low wages, which results in low budget revenues. If entrepreneurs and not employees are responsible for low wages, then an alternative solution is created: ensuring higher wages for all employees, which will automatically increase budget revenues. In this case, an alternative to raising the retirement age is to create solutions that oblige entrepreneurs and the state to improve the position of employees, for example, to raise the minimum wage, change labor laws and regulations facilitating the organization of strikes, giving more PIP rights, etc.

Another issue is control over public finances. In previous years, billions of zlotys leaked from retirement accounts. Only in 2011, almost 8.5 billion of them have disappeared due to bad accounting. The so-called. the VAT gap is, according to some studies, up to PLN 60 billion. As you can see, the problem is not the lack of money, only their unfair division, which results from the political situation prevailing in the country. Since the 1990s, successive governments have been maintaining and even developing a project of Special Economic Zones, ie zones guaranteeing subsidies and tax exemptions for entrepreneurs. Among the criteria necessary to obtain public aid, there are neither working conditions nor the minimum wages of employed persons. A significant part of companies that use this form of support from the state offers junk employment and the lowest wages. Volkswagen itself in 2014. he received aid worth 30 million euros (including 62.2 million zlotys from the state budget). An even bigger amount was added to the accounts of Mercedes. If it is so easy to find funds for business, financing our pensions should not be a major problem. If money is lacking, then it is necessary to change the policy of redistribution of wealth produced by employees. Possible solutions are redirection of the stream of money, which for years has been flowing into the pockets of entrepreneurs towards employees, even for their retirement. Another option is to check and commit subsidized facilities to provide employees with decent wages. If it is so easy to find funds for business, financing our pensions should not be a major problem. If money is lacking, then it is necessary to change the policy of redistribution of wealth produced by employees. Possible solutions are redirection of the stream of money, which for years has been flowing into the pockets of entrepreneurs towards employees, even for their retirement. Another option is to check and commit subsidized facilities to provide employees with decent wages. If it is so easy to find funds for business, financing our pensions should not be a major problem. If money is lacking, then it is necessary to change the policy of redistribution of wealth produced by employees. Possible solutions are redirection of the stream of money, which for years has been flowing into the pockets of entrepreneurs towards employees, even for their retirement. Another option is to check and commit subsidized plants to provide employees with decent wages.

Contrary to the opinion of the liberals, extending the retirement age is also not a response to the demographic and aging problems of the society. Instead of fighting the symptoms, the causes of the problem should be solved. The number of births will not increase if employees are forced to work longer. It is necessary to change social policy. The 500+ program is a step in the right direction, but it does not solve all problems. It is necessary to support care work at the institutional level (increasing expenditures for running nurseries, kindergartens, schools, community centers, extracurricular activities, canteens), providing employees with access to cheap rental housing, facilitating the combination of paid work and childcare eg reduction of working time while maintaining the same pay. There are currently regulations, which to a very small extent make it easier for parents to reconcile work and care. Experience shows, however, that employers care about them without any problems. For example, a recipe that allows refusal of night work for parents of children under 4 years can be easily avoided in practice. For example, after the pressure of parents, Amazon created a special change for them, in such days and hours that for most it is more uncomfortable than working at night. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. Experience shows, however, that employers care about them without any problems. For example, a recipe that allows refusal of night work for parents of children under 4 years can be easily avoided in practice. For example, after the pressure of parents, Amazon created a special change for them, in such days and hours that for most it is more uncomfortable than working at night. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. Experience shows, however, that employers care about them without any problems. For example, a recipe that allows refusal of night work for parents of children under 4 years can be easily avoided in practice. For example, after the pressure of parents, Amazon created a special change for them, in such days and hours that for most it is more uncomfortable than working at night. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. For example, a recipe that allows refusal of night work for parents of children under 4 years can be easily avoided in practice. For example, after the pressure of parents, Amazon created a special change for them, in such days and hours that for most it is more uncomfortable than working at night. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. For example, a recipe that allows refusal of night work for parents of children under 4 years can be easily avoided in practice. For example, after the pressure of parents, Amazon created a special change for them, in such days and hours that for most it is more uncomfortable than working at night. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers. In addition, often from our activists and activists from various commissions there is information about an unjustified refusal to take advantage of a day off for childcare. In this situation, having a child becomes a problem for employees. It can only change the empowerment of employees towards employers.

Two possible scenarios emerge in the discussion on the retirement age: longer retirement age and dissatisfied employees, but a more stable FUS budget or a more favorable retirement age and potential problems with payment of benefits. Meanwhile, the issue of retirement age is not as one-dimensional as it is presented. The problem is that in the debates on this subject, the only entity responsible for the financial condition of the pension fund are employees. Admitting that the employers and politicians who create fiscal policy are responsible for it opens up a number of new opportunities for us. Perhaps it is true that in the future we will face problems related to the Social Security crisis.

Kornelia Piotrowska
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