‘At 67 years old, all jobs are difficult’: Workers Party of Belgium launches campaign against pension reform

The Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) has initiated a campaign against the government’s proposed pension reform. It has stated that these plans will systematically demolish pension rights in the country

August 30, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Pension Reforms-Belgium
The Workers Party of Belgium’s campaign poster for fair pensions. (Photo: via PTB/PVDA)

As the coalition government in Belgium led by Alexander De Croo is heading towards pension reforms in September that are likely to fix the retirement age at 67, the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) has initiated a vigorous campaign calling for a fair retirement age and adequate pensions. The PTB/PVDA launched the campaign titled ‘At 67 years old, all jobs are difficult’, demanding reduction of the pension age in the country to 65. As of August 28, more than 4,950 people had endorsed this petition. The petition also seeks the right to early retirement at 60 years with 35 years of work, and to increase the minimum pension to 1,500 euros (USD 1,769.31). 

Currently, the retirement age in Belgium is set in a dynamic format. It will be 65 years for those retiring on or before January 31, 2025, 66 years for those retiring between February 1, 2025 and January 31, 2030, and 67 years for those retiring on or after February 1, 2030. 

Since January 1, 2019, recipients have to be at least 63 years of age and have 42 years of service to avail early retirement. According to reports, there exists serious disagreement between the parties within the incumbent coalition regarding the proposals for the upcoming pension reforms. President of the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld), Egbert Lachaert, and Socialist Party (PS) president Paul Magnette have already locked horns over the proposals for the conditions to get a minimum pension. 

Kim De Witte from the PTB/PVDA stated that the government’s pension plans will systematically demolish pension rights in Belgium. “Currently there are three ways to take your pension earlier: early pension, early retirement (RCC) or recognition of the arduous nature of the job. These three tracks are gradually being eliminated,” he said.

“PTB’s campaign for a fair pension is based on five pillars: reducing the legal pension age to 65; make early retirement available again from the age of 60, after a 35-year career; develop end-of-career arrangements from the age of 55; maintain the right to full early retirement for those who started working early in a difficult job; and increase the statutory pension to 75% of the average salary or professional income, and the minimum pension to 1,500 euros net after 40 years of work,” Witte stated.