Plan to raise Swiss retirement age for women to be put to referendum

Plan to raise Swiss retirement age for women to be put to referendum

Campaigners against the plan to raise the retirement age for women in Switzerland have confirmed that they have gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the issue. Over 100.000 signatures have been collected against the plans, which would reform AHV and the structure of Swiss pensions.

Campaign gets double the number of signatures required for referendum

Pierre-Yves Maillard, President of the Swiss Trade Union Confederation - one of Switzerland’s most prominent trade unions - confirmed that over 100.000 signatures against the plans were collected in 50 days. This means that more than double the number of signatures required for a referendum were collected in half the time allowed by the government to raise objections.

The Tages-Anzeiger reported that the referendum struck a chord with women, who would see their pensions and social security benefits curtailed if the plan went ahead. Maillard said that women were angry about the reform and were incentivised by the women’s strikes of 2019 that brought issues of gender inequality to the fore in the country.

AHV and pension reform to severely impact Swiss women

The alliance against "AHV 21" opened the bid for a referendum in January after the government passed the controversial reform in parliament. They argue that the planned increase in the retirement age makes savings at the expense of women, who already have a smaller pension pot than men in most cases. The government says that the reform will save 10 billion Swiss francs in total, a necessary saving due to the fragile nature of the pension system in Switzerland.

Campaigners claim that the change would make women 1.200 Swiss francs a year worse off in their retirement, on top of the fact that the “pension gap” between men and women is still around a third. The alliance plans to submit the referendum soon, with the government yet to assign a date for the vote.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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