The SPD and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) have sharply criticized a pension concept from the CDU. The plan was “a slap in the face for many hard-working people in Germany,” said Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) of the “Bild” newspaper (Saturday edition). CDU social politicians want to link retirement to increasing life expectancy. For every year of life gained, people should work four months longer. DGB board member Anja Piel sees a pension cut of up to eight percent.

The CDU is apparently “very far away from the everyday life of the workers,” said Heil, adding: “As a CDU official, you can certainly work up to 70 – but parcel carriers, educators, steel workers or nursing staff cannot do that.” The SPD politician emphasized: “For these hard-working people who keep our country running, the CDU plan means nothing more than a pension cut.” Heil reiterated: “That will not happen with me as Labor Minister.”

Instead, to stabilize the statutory pension insurance system, he is relying “on a strong job market and on flexible transitions into retirement,” Heil continued.

SPD parliamentary secretary Katja Mast spoke of “scary proposals” with a view to the working draft of the CDU specialist commission on social security that became known on Wednesday. “Working longer means nothing more than a pension cut,” said Mast of the Düsseldorf “Rheinische Post” (Saturday edition). “The SPD doesn’t go along with that.”

CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja told the “Rheinische Post” that his party had not yet made any preliminary decisions regarding a new pension concept. “In our basic program there must and will be an answer for a stable future of pensions.” At the same time, Czaja emphasized: “But we will take a look at all the pillars of old-age provision.

His party is currently developing different approaches, said the CDU general secretary. “For example: Those who want and are able to work longer should be supported and not penalized, for example by paying taxes too early or by paying taxes that are too high.” “More differentiated pension models that distinguish between physical and mental activity” would be needed.

According to “Welt” information, the working draft of the CDU specialist commission provides for the retirement age to be linked directly to life expectancy from 2031, if this continues to increase as forecast. “Specifically, the standard retirement age then increases by four months for every year of life gained,” the newspaper quoted from the paper. So far, the age of entry into the state pension has gradually increased to 67 by 2030.

The concept of the CDU social politicians therefore also contains significant changes in private old-age provision. It is planned that a new, state-subsidized standard product will replace the controversial Riester pension. It should be “mandatory for all employees, unless they object to the inclusion”. In principle, funded pension provision should be strengthened. An “equally financed company pension” should therefore be introduced for low earners.

DGB board member Piel told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”: “With its proposal, the CDU is just beautifying the level of pensions with arithmetic tricks, while in reality they want to cut pensions by up to eight percent.” The plan of the CDU means: “Work longer and still reduce the pension.” That goes “crassly past reality and the wishes of the people in Germany”.

The CDU knows “very well that many employees are already not healthy until they retire,” said Piel. “Even with a sharp increase in life expectancy, the Federal Statistical Office assumes that from the year 2000 onwards, every tenth man and every twentieth woman will not live to see the increased retirement age,” emphasized the trade unionist.