Swiss Pensioners Rally for Expanded Old-Age Insurance on 75th Anniversary
Demands for the Expansion of AHV on its 75th Anniversary
Approximately 500 retirees convened in Bern to push for the expansion of the Old-Age and Survivors’ Insurance (AHV) scheme on its 75th anniversary. The demonstration was coordinated by the Pensioners’ Commission of the Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB), in association with various trade unions and seniors’ organizations. The attendees advocated for a 13th AHV pension payment to be supplemented to the 12 installments they currently receive each year.
The AHV Profit and Financing Possibilities
Pierre-Yves Maillard, President of the SGB and National Council (SP/VD), asserted that the additional pension could be funded. He drew attention to the fact that the AHV turned a profit of CHF 1.7 billion last year and that an extra CHF 2 billion would be produced next year through value-added taxes.
Looking Back: The History of AHV
The AHV was introduced on January 1, 1948, and since then, the federal law has faced ten revisions. The minimum pension in 1948 was CHF 40, which would equate to roughly CHF 194 today when adjusted for inflation. In contrast, the maximum pension for 2023 is slated at CHF 2450.
Before 1948, the care for the elderly and disabled in Switzerland mainly fell under the responsibility of relatives, charitable organizations, and the church. The 1880s witnessed demands for social insurance in response to the widespread poverty of factory worker families. In 1925, the constitutional basis for the establishment of the AHV was accepted by the populace. However, the initial AHV proposal failed at the polls in 1931. Only in 1947 was the Federal Act on the AHV accepted by the populace on a second try, with 53% of the vote.
The Current Struggles and Future of the AHV
The recent demand for an additional pension installment reflects the ongoing struggle of the AHV and the increasing financial demands of the ageing population. With the expansion of the AHV and the potential for increased financial support through value-added taxes, the future of the AHV could see significant changes. However, these changes would need to balance the needs of retirees with the economic capabilities of the country.
The demonstration by Swiss pensioners is a significant moment in the ongoing discussions surrounding the AHV. The demand for an additional pension installment and the potential for increased funding through value-added taxes presents an opportunity for the expansion and adaptation of the AHV. As Switzerland navigates these changes, the balance between supporting its ageing population and maintaining economic stability will continue to be a vital concern.
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