The Chairman of the Histadrut’s Pensioners Association, Shmulik Mizrahi, presented the demands of the retirees in preparation for the upcoming elections. In a letter he sent to the heads of the competing parties, he emphasized that the electoral strength of the retired population in Israel is about 20 seats, and demanded that the parties address these demands.
The main demand presented is a gradual increase in the old-age pension from 17% to 25% of the average wage, similar to both the OECD average, and to the former pension status with the enactment of the National Insurance Law in 1954. The basic pension currently stands at 1,686 – 1,596 shekels (US $472-447) per month. Seniors who have no additional income are also entitled to additional income support.
In the Histadrut the pensioners The Pensioners Association also demands that both the pensions and the old-age allowances be linked to the average wage or to the consumer price index – whichever is the higher of the two. Mizrahi emphasized that the change is required because of the erosion of pensions and old-age allowances by about 20% in the last decade, during which they were linked to the consumer price index, which increased at a small rate relative to wages.
Another condition required by the Pensioners’ Association is to ensure the preservation of the principle of the universality of old-age pensions, as stipulated in the National Insurance Law. This is an implicit reference to the plan promoted by Yesh Atid and recently published in Israel Today, which suggests that old-age allowances will grow differentially.
The Pensioners Association is also demanding an increase in the discounts for those whose income is below the minimum wage: discounts for water, electricity, property tax and medicine. This would alleviate the concerns of the low-income elderly population.
In addition, they demand the completion of the nursing reforms for the general public without income testing, and a commitment to finalize a master plan for senior citizens in various fields, with the intention of providing a comprehensive response to the new and changing needs of the pensioners.
Their final demand outlines the abolition of the mandatory retirement age, which allows an employee to be fired on the basis of his age from age 67 onwards, and to convert it into gradual retirement according to the will and ability of the retiree and the employer.
"In Israel there are over a million elderly people who are 'worth' about 20 mandates," Mizrahi wrote to the party leaders. "They are entitled to know your position on the questions presented above.”
“On their behalf, we ask that you respond to the above-mentioned issues, and also inform us which of these demands you will ensure are included in your coalition agreements should your party join the next government,” he continued. “We intend to publish the answers we receive before the elections, and disseminate them amongst the pensioners and the media."
This article was translated from Hebrew by Rose Angela.