Bratislava, September 5 (TASR) – Trade unionists have managed to collect 135,000 signatures so far for a petition calling for a referendum on introducing retirement age caps, TASR learnt on Wednesday.
The unions believe that they’ll have collected 350,000 signatures by the end of this year so that a referendum can be announced. They’d like to link it to the presidential election due to be held next year.
“The campaign is doing very well, we want to collect 350,000 signatures by the end of the year. That’s very much, but it’s a topic that is definitely interesting for people, and that’s a very important thing. We want a certain setting so that people will be sure exactly when and under what conditions they’ll retire,” OZ KOVO chair Emil Machyna told a press conference, adding that in Slovakia there’s a great deal of overtime and labour productivity is growing, but public health is much worse than in Western Europe.
At the same time, Machyna pointed out that the whole of Western Europe has pre-retirement, which is also being discussed in Slovakia. “If the proposal on pre-retirement isn’t approved, we would propose a lower penalty for the option of early retirement,” said Machyna. OZ KOVO also disagrees with Most-Hid’s proposal that the retirement age should be rounded to years and months.
The petition was launched by OZ KOVO trade union in cooperation with other trade unions belonging to the Trade Union Confederation in mid-July. The unions said that they’ve visited dozens of Slovak towns and companies with their petition and collected hundreds of signatures in favour of capping the retirement age.
The unions collected signatures for a petition on retirement age caps last year as well. It was signed by 126,000 people and handed in to Parliament. As a result of the petition, the governing Smer-SD party drafted a constitutional law on capping the retirement age at 64. “However, the law is still at its first reading, and it’s not clear whether it will manage to find sufficient support from MPs to be advanced to further legislative proceedings,” stated the unions. Therefore, they decided to organise a petition calling for the aforementioned referendum.