Proposals to combat the gender pension gap a missed opportunity
Recommendations approved today at the European Parliament for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender-pension gap have failed to live up to expectations, according to GUE/NGL MEPs.
The final text ignores the role of austerity and privatisation in creating the problem, while encouraging a shift from state pensions to self-funded schemes and other problematic measures that are at the root of the problem.
GUE/NGL MEP João Pimenta Lopes, shadow rapporteur for the group on the issue, highlighted the causes of the gap between men and women's pensions:
“Systematic discrimination imposed on women during working life and maternity; in access to work and in the value of their salaries; increased vulnerability to precarious work and poverty; as well as the consequences of right-wing and austerity policies have meant a brutal attack against social and labour rights for Europe and for Portugal.”
The Portuguese MEP put forward a number of steps required to solve the problem which the report has failed to address:
“We must fight against low salaries; support equal pay for equal work; invest in collective bargaining; fight precarious work; protect maternity; create public services to support childcare and care for the elderly; and defend universal and public social security as the sole guarantee for the right to a dignified pension.”
“Furthermore, we must urgently update the pensions and reject any link to the increase in life expectancy when setting the retirement age,” Pimenta Lopes added.
GUE/NGL had submitted an opinion to the report through the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) that was later dismissed as 'out of scope' by the EPP rapporteur.
Spanish MEP Tania González Peñas – the author of the opinion – criticised this unilateral approach:
“Unfortunately, the rapporteur deleted paragraphs that sought to challenge the structural causes of labour discrimination which are most felt after retirement. The rapporteur did so claiming there was a conflict of competences between committees, however, in reality it was just a conflict of political opinions.”
“I continue to refer to the amendments we have tabled to find a solution for these paragraphs that have been deleted: references to increasing the dignity of workers and salaries in the most precarious and feminised sectors, the strengthening of public pension systems and objectives to combat discrimination against women,” the Spanish MEP concluded.