More Germans forced into early retirement
New statistics published Wednesday revealed that half of Germans retiring in 2010 had to take their pensions early, raising concerns of increasing old age poverty.
According to the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, Germany's state pensions service, demographic shifts, pressure in the job market and changes to pension rules mean that more and more workers are being forced to take pension cuts and go into early retirement.
The average monthly rental payment fell by €113 a month in 2010, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.
Trade unions and special interest groups are warning that the raising of the retirement age to 67, which comes into effect in 2012, will only exacerbate the problem.
Figures show that 674,000 people took up a new pension in 2010, with 47.5 percent taking a cut in their monthly income because they were not yet 65. That compares to 41.2 percent five years ago and only 14.5 percent in 2000.
A pensioner who has been earning an average income for 45 years, now receives €1,236 a month.
Ulrike Mascher, head of the special interest group VdK, says the new retirement age of 67 will "increase the danger of old age poverty," because few people will be able to work until that age.
"At the moment neither the conditions on the job market or the personnel policies of companies suggest that working to the limit will become the norm," she told the newspaper.
Annelie Buntenbach, board member at the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB), put it starker terms. "As long as employees barely have the chance to work to the age of 65, a pension age of 67 is basically a pension cut," she said.
She also warned, "Employers who do not invest in the health of their workers should contribute to the financial consequences of early retirement."