Up until this Sunday, the government?s plan was to raise the population?s retirement age by six months from 67 years to 67.5 years. But according to the Prime Minister, the proposal will not be included in the 2025-plan presented by the government next week. PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen has announced that the retirement age remains unchanged.

This could not have happened without a massive campaign from the LO-led trade union movement. 217,000 Danes signed a petition against the raising of the retirement age as part of the LO-affiliated union 3F?s campaign ?a fair pensionable age?. According to polls, seven in ten Danes are opposed to a higher retirement age. The Social Democrats and the Danish People?s Party have supported this cause. Now, the government simply cannot find a majority in Parliament for raising the retirement age.

Great inequality among groups most likely to be worn out       

In Denmark, we have a range of different jobs that wear people out to different extents. For example, as many as one in five members of the unions 3F and FOA has, according to the national research centre for the working environment, hard physical labour, while this only applies to one percent of the members of the unemployment insurance fund of the Confederation of Professional Associations. The­ unskilled and skilled workers are also absent due to illness far more often as a consequence of industrial injury­ or accidents. They go to the doctor more often, and they have a shorter life span than Danes with higher­ ­education.

LO acknowledges that it is necessary to act on the challenge that we are facing as a society where the economically active population is shrinking and must provide for an increasing number of elderly citizens who are not active on the labour market. As we live longer we also need to work longer. But for a large group on the labour market, their jobs are so physically demanding that they have a hard time completing a whole working life­ and avoid attrition which reduces both quality of live and their prospects of a long and­ dignified retirement.

We need to care for those who are worn-out

LO believes that society needs to be better at caring for the ones who are already worn-out. It should prevent­ that work becomes so arduous that it is not possible to complete a full ­ working life. Right now, the situation is such that one in five LO-workers take painkillers just to get through their working day, and one in four workers will be either on early retirement pension or dead before they reach the age of 60.

The pensionable age will already be raised from 65 to 68 over the next 10 years. We need to invest in better health and safety at work and good opportunities for continuing training and education. This is the only way that skilled and unskilled workers will be able to reach the current pensionable age. They deserve a worthy retirement.