Social partners on German pensions reform group

Annelie Buntenbach

Trade unions will join employers, politicians and experts on a new ‘Pensions Commission’ to examine the future of pensions in Germany, following a campaign by ETUC German affiliate DGB.

The campaign demand: ‘Pensions must be adequate - change course now!’ put pressure on the coalition government to confront the challenge of guaranteeing sustainable protection for pensioners in the future, from 2025 onwards.

German Employment Minister Hubertus Heil said the Commission, starting work in June 2018, will draw up proposals for pension reforms by 2020. It will look at all three pension ‘pillars’ – public, private and occupational – to see how they can meet the needs of an ageing population in a sustainable manner. The pressure on pensions is likely to increase as more workers from the so-called ‘baby boomer’ generation take retirement.

The German pension contribution rate is now down to 18.6%, the lowest in 23 years, said the DGB’s Commission representative Annelie Buntenbach. “Cuts have been the theme of pension policy for the last 30 years,” she protested. “Future generations will pay the bill if everything goes on like this. Politicians must have the courage to correct a wrong decision made at the beginning of the millennium.”

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