EUROPE - The European Commission has said that Europe must put an end to the practice of using early retirement to restructure businesses.
Highlighting the need to make use of Europe’s older workers, the commission said that increased participation of older workers was crucial if the EU was to create the estimated 15m jobs needed to fulfil the target of 70% employment rate by 2010.
More older workers were also fundamental to the future sustainability of our economies, in the face of expected reductions in the working age population, the commission said.
The commission added that through targets had been set to increase employment of older workers on the labour market, progress has been slow.
Margot Wallstrom (pictured), acting Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs said: Europe's older workers have much to offer, and we need to ensure that they are given the maximum support to remain in the labour market. Governments and social partners have their roles to play in ensuring that we maximise the potential of all our workers. The practice of using early retirement to restructure businesses must come to an end.”
The commission said that the Stockholm and Barcelona summits had adopted targets on the increasing employment rate for people in the 55-64 age group and raising the average exit age from the labour market by 5 years by 2010.
“However, progress towards these targets has been disappointing: the current employment rate for older workers is 40.1% and the exit age went up by less than half a year between 2001 and 2002,” the commission said.
The commission said that government policies can provide a framework within which active ageing policies can be designed and carried out, but the social partners workers' and employer's representatives have a particularly important role when considering aspects such as bringing pay into line with productivity and performance, work organisation and health and safety at work, lifelong learning, bringing an end to early retirement and age management schemes.
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