Unions start collecting signatures for retirement referendum petition

NEWS 26.04.2019 14:33
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Source: Pixabay

Three trade union federations will start collecting signatures for their retirement referendum petition at Friday midnight and as many as 300 movable stands will be set up throughout Croatia in the next two weeks for that purpose.

One of union activists, Robert Brozd, on Friday morning called on the Croatians to give their signatures for this initiative.

An estimated 385,000 signatures will be needed for the petition to be valid.

The three union federations — NHS, SSSH, and MATICA (Association of Croatian Trade Unions) — have launched their “67 is too much” campaign to call the referendum which would bring back the full retirement age to 65 as it was prior to the pension reform. The signature collection campaign will run from April 27 to May 11.

The initiative proposes that an insured person be entitled to old age pension upon reaching 65 years of age and having completed 15 years of qualifying periods and to early age pension with 60 years of age and 35 years of qualifying periods, reducing penalisation for early retirement from 0.3% to 0.2%, and delaying the equation of the required pension age for men and women.

Asked by reporters why they had not launched this initiative when the Social Democratic Party (SDP) proposed the raising the statutory pension age, unionist Ana Milicevic Pezelj said that they had not had all the relevant data which they possessed now and that they had expected an improvement of technological and working conditions in the transitional period, which was why the retirement age in Western countries was higher than in Croatia.

“We don’t have conditions to raise the retirement age,” she added.

No permission for referendum signatures collection at archdiocese premises

The Archdiocese of Zagreb on Thursday stated that it was not able to give permission to three union federations to collect signatures for their retirement referendum petition at the premises owned by this Catholic archdiocese, underlining that it does not take sides with anybody in this case.

Explaining its refusal to permit unionists to collect signatures outside its churches and other buildings it owns, the Archdiocese says that in the processes aimed at achieving goals through referenda, the Church makes its premises available to civic initiatives that have no other possibilities for accomplishment of the values which they and the Church advocate.

On the other hand, trade unions can act within the regulated relations within the political life in Croatia and can in “a regular way and with certain financial support” achieve their objectives, the Archdiocese says.

The archdiocese says that the topic of pension system is definitely extremely important for the Croatian society and believes that the matter should be looked at from a broader framework than the issue of statutory pension age.