ITALY - The Confederation of Italian Workers (Cgil) has reacted angrily to proposed state pension changes as it believes the pensions of newcomers to the system are being seriously degraded.
The equalisation of public and private sector workers’ state pensions is at the top of the current Berlusconi government’s reform agenda, in an effort to reduce generous public sector employee pensions.
Gian Paolo Patta, secretary of the Cgil, said: “The equalisation of public and private pensions would be onerous for the government and at the same time create injustices for those who would see the rules change only a few years before retiring.”
Public sector employees’ benefits currently consume some 14% of GDP, as they are calculated on the average of an individual’s last five years of service.
An employee of the private sector who draws a state pension has his benefit calculated on the last ten years of service, which theoretically means that he would need to work longer in order to achieve the same average pension as his publicly employed counterpart.
Changes to pensions that were started prior to the Amato reforms in 1992 are also on the table. Here there is even greater inequality, as private sector workers receive benefits based on their last five years of service, and those of the public sector savour a pension derived only from their last year of work.
The Cgil is sceptical of the even-handedness of the government’s reform package.
Cgil secretary, Morena Piccinini, commented: “If Ministers Roberto Maroni (welfare) and Giulio Tremonti (economy) intend to modify the retirement system by attacking the privileged, they should also intervene in the treatment of the pensions of parliamentarians, of the Banca d’Italia and of magistrates, not just on those of public employees.”
The Berlusconi government’s revamp of the pension system should be completed by the end of the year, following a presentation of the reforms to the trade unions in September.
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