European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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2 May 2018

Croatia: fierce opposition against increase of statutory pension age

The government endorsed a National Reform Programme for 2018, and a three-year convergence plan with three main goals: boosting the competitiveness of the national economy, making the education system congruent with the needs of the labour market, and making public finances sustainable. The most controversial proposal is an increase to the statutory retirement age.

The government has announced a pension reform in the second quarter of 2018 that will increase the statutory retirement age from 65 to 67. In the approved National reform Programme for 2018 that, together with the Convergence Programme, will be sent to the European Commission, it is said that the government will prepare amendments to the legislation on pension insurance and retirement. The Reform Programme defines the current state of affairs and contains plans to implement the government's key structural policies, while the Convergence Programme sets out the key points of the country's macroeconomic and fiscal policies. The programme lists a set of measures to boost competitiveness, including cutting tax. The amendments include the increase of the pension age for both men and women. The minister of labour and pensions stated that the government was open for a substantial dialogue with the social partners on the issue.

The trade unions strongly oppose the government plans on the pension reform. The NHS union federation staged a rally at St. Mark Square between Government and Parliament Houses on 25 April 2018 to protest the proposed increase in pension age. Furthermore, the Unions of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia and the Association of Croatian Trade Unions united in a joint union protest in May 1 against the proposed pension reform. The unions demand a dignified life for elderly workers. They accuse the government of a shameful policy of extending the working age and penalising workers that retire earlier. The unions argue that the average life-expectancy in the country is a lot shorter than in other EU countries that have increased the statutory pension age.  

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