Oct 10, 2022

One-year increase in women’s retirement age narrowly passed in Switzerland
Disappointed, regretted, but still determined to continue to defend their rights. This is how we can sum up the reactions of the Swiss trade unionists who had to bow before the popular verdict of Sunday 25 September: with a meager 50.57% of approval, the proposal to raise the the retirement of women aged 64 to 65 was accepted by popular vote. Emphasis is now placed on equal pay to improve the situation of women.
“Although their pensions and salaries are still significantly lower than those of men, women have to work an additional year,” regrets Unia, the largest union in Switzerland. This reform provides for a reduction in benefits “which further aggravates the already problematic situation of women in terms of income and pensions”, estimates the USS, the largest trade union confederation in Switzerland. Faced with this situation, it is clear that “women can only react in one way: by strengthening the fight for equal pay and pensions”, they add.
In the short term, the unions are counting on another instrument to improve the excessively low public old-age pensions (AVS): they are demanding a thirteenth AVS, which would lead to an improvement of 8.33% in pensions. “This step is of crucial importance especially for women, a third of whom live exclusively on the AVS after retirement”, adds Unia. Furthermore, a reform of the occupational pension system (second pillar) is being discussed in Parliament, which should hopefully improve the precarious situation of women.
For the trade unions, the commitment in favor of working women and retirees therefore continues. They will mobilize in particular to defend their rights in view of the new women’s strike planned in Switzerland in 2023.
Paola Ferro and Dario Mordasini (Unia – Switzerland)