Swedish roundup: Landsorganisationen, AMF, retirement ages
SWEDEN - The Swedish Trade Union Confederation - Landsorganisationen (LO) - is launching a working group to evaluate the country's pension system. The decision was taken at the annual congress of the organisaiton.
In 2010 LO published a report on the Swedish pension reform, evaluating the system up to that point. The report showed that those who retire today did not achieve the level of pension which was expected when the reform was introduced. This was mainly a result of longevity, increasing faster than expected at the time.
LO argueed that the system has now been tested in good as well as tough economic times. At the same time there had been a raft of changes within the Swedish social security system as well as on the labour market on the whole. They argue that even if people are living longer, not many of LO members, blue-collar workers, have the strength or ability to work longer, which made a thorough analysis necessary.
Finally, nine out of 10 Swedes would like the opportunity to work part-time and gradually retire rather than abruptly leave the working environment. Many who have retired also seem to regret the decision, according to a recent survey by AMF, the pension and insurance provider.
The survey 'Who can work until 75?' examines the employment situation of the elderly, an issue hotly debated since the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said he would like to see more people given the opportunity to work longer.
The AMF survey asked pensioners whether they retired at the right time and many said they would have wanted to work for longer. The report said that one issue that needed to be addressed was the negative attitudes towards older employees.
Since 2004 the number of people in employment older than 64 has increased by 80% to 137,000. There is also a growing number of people in their 70s who continue working.
In total, those over 64 years of age in employment now comprise 3.1% of the working population in Sweden. However, not everyone over 65 wants to continue working. Gender, place of residence, level of education and industry all have great effect on the willingness to continue working.
In the region of Stockholm one in five between 65 and 74 continue working whereas in the northern most part of Sweden, Norrbottens län, only 10% of the population continue to work between 65 and 74.
The report states that this is likely due to business structures and availability of work.
From a European perspective, Swedes seemed more positive than most in their attitudes to work longer. Some 43% of Swedes would like to work beyond 65, compared to 33% in Europe.
Swedes were also the least worried about getting older with only 19% expressing concerns compared to 40% among the other EU members.