The Swiss will vote next Sunday on postponing the retirement age and pension for the thirteenth month

The Swiss will vote next Sunday on postponing the retirement age and pension for the thirteenth month

According to opinion polls, the majority of voters support this union proposal titled “A Better Retirement Life.” But the gap between “yes” has narrowed. The maximum monthly social security pension in Switzerland is 2,450 Swiss francs (2,570 euros) for a single person and 3,675 francs for a married couple, in a country that is regularly ranked among the most expensive countries in the world. In the city, the rent for a three-room apartment is at least 3,000 francs (3,150 euros). The coffee costs more than five francs. If the Swiss give the green light to this change, they will not be the first in Europe: neighboring Liechtenstein, another expensive country that uses the Swiss franc, implemented a similar system several years ago.

“Purchasing power crisis”

“There is, as everywhere else, a crisis of purchasing power in Switzerland. “The standard of living of pensioners is eroding,” explains Pierre-Yves Maillard, president of the Swiss Trade Union Confederation (SGB), which is campaigning for “Yes”. 'Hope' for his victory Jacob Houry, a retiree cited by the Yes campaign, has the same opinion: “The cost of living is rising dramatically,” and the pension fund, “which is supposed to guarantee a minimum subsistence level, is not keeping up.” The leftist parties support this initiative, but the right and center parties strongly oppose it, and the government and parliament also oppose it.

The government said the proposed increase would cost more than four billion Swiss francs annually, warning that it would require tax increases and could threaten the financial stability of the social security system. He also estimated that the proposed change, for all retirees regardless of their financial situation, would bring only limited social benefit. Federal authorities say: “If the initiative is adopted, many retirees will receive the thirteenth Social Security payment even if they do not really need it.”

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The United Democratic Union, the far-right and leading party in the country, warns that this “irresponsible” initiative will allow exploiters to overwhelm the system. This party campaigned for a 'No' vote with the help of advertisements, including one showing a 100-franc note being pulled into a manhole. The arguments seem to have been successful: in a recent poll conducted by gfs.bern for public broadcaster SSR, 53% of those surveyed said they supported the initiative, while 43% opposed it, while a month later early on, 61% of respondents said they were in favour. For this initiative to be ratified, it must not only receive the popular vote, but also a majority in half of Switzerland's 26 cantons.

Early voting

Voters are also voting on a proposal from the Liberal Party's youth wing to gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 66 over the next decade, to ensure sustainable funding for the pension system. But this initiative appears to have failed: the latest opinion polls indicate that only 35% of those surveyed support such a measure, while 63% oppose it.

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