New controversy over some statements by Minister José Luis Escrivá on pensions. The person in charge of the Social Security affirmed in an interview with the newspaper ARA that in Spain a “cultural change” had to be made like the one that was happening in Europe so that “more and more work” between 55 and 75 years old, after being asked about early retirement in the bank. His statements have generated much criticism, for example from the UGT leader, Pepe Álvarez, who called them “nonsense.” This Monday, the minister has criticized that his words have been “taken out of context” and recalled that the Government is not considering “in any case” raising the legal retirement age, which will reach 67 years in 2027.
Escrivá clarifies about the “adjustment” in the pension of the ‘baby boomers’ and says that they are only “reflections”
The head of Social Security published a thread on his Twitter account this Monday morning in which he specified what his words were referring to. “I see with surprise that some people have taken my words out of context,” he says, after the criticism received. A few minutes earlier, the Second Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, asked “prudence” in an interview on Cadena Ser.
“Our position on the matter is known, what we have to do is improve public pensions,” warned the vice president and head of United We Can in the coalition government. In a clear way, he has specified that the idea mentioned by Escrivá to promote more work until the age of 75 “is not contemplated in the government agreement.”
The legal retirement age will not be increased
“In no case do I raise the need to work until the age of 75, as some suggest, but rather to promote measures that contribute to changing the mentality of companies so that they do not expel workers from the labor market after 55 years,” said the minister in his Twitter thread.
In the full interview, that can be consulted here (minute 7.30), the minister calls this “cultural change” in Spain so that more work is done at advanced ages when asked why he thinks about early retirement in sectors such as banking, in which many workers are leaving the surrounding companies at 55 years of age in collective dismissal processes.
“I believe that there is a need to make a cultural change in Spain, I have explained it several times. In Europe there is a clear trend so that between 55 and 70 and 75 years old people work more and more,” the minister responds.
Escrivá recalls that, as he usually states, “Spain has an appropriate retirement age, which does not need to be modified”. In other words, the legal retirement age, which rises to 67 years due to the 2011 pension reform, is not in question. “In no case,” he insists, is raising this age of access to retirement.
Of course, the minister defends the delay in the effective retirement age, that is, the one at which people really retire in Spain and which is situated on average at 64.6 years. For it, the first leg of the pension reform agreed with the unions and employers It is committed to discouraging early retirements more, especially in the first two months that can be used. And, secondly, by rewarding more economically people who opt for delayed retirement, the one for which people work beyond the age of access to retirement (66 years or 65 in case of long working careers in 2021).
This voluntary extension of the working career is what the minister was referring to, he pointed out, “so that those who so wish can work beyond the ordinary retirement age.”
One more controversy
It is not the first time that a few words from the minister on pensions have generated a barrage of criticism. It happened a few months ago with his mention of what could be the new intergenerational equity mechanism, which he stated that it could mean a “small adjustment” in the pension of the baby boom generation or that they would have to work a little more to be able to retire.
Then, the minister had to rectify after reproaches rained down on him for referring to an issue that had not yet been negotiated and on the same day that the agreement of the first block of the pension reform was signed, which had cost a lot to close. “I am a person who tends to say that pensioners must be given certainty and that this reform does just that,” said the minister. “Yesterday I did not have my best day and I probably did not adequately convey that certainty when talking about something that is yet to be defined,” he rectified.
Following the minister’s new statements on work up to age 75, the majority unions called to focus on the debate that really exists, that of the second leg of the pension reform, and to remember the importance of a subject as sensitive as the of pensions.