Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions

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Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 3



THE SPANISH FEDERATION

 

 

We set ourselves up as solidarity apostles, when we work together for a harmonious and cooperative society, a society in which we all fit, and, specially, A SOCIETY OF ALL AGES.

 

Of course we are aware of the difficulties for acting with generosity and solidarity, but we wish to encourage these values between generations as the major goal to ensure the smooth running of the society. We want to be sure to know if we are walking towards this society in which men and women of all ages would live together in peace and harmony, or if we are only formulating a wellintentioned slogan. We don’t want that the solidarity so often announced remains as words, since the good words have to be put into practice if we want to be able to smell their perfume. First we have to see what it is done, and then listen what it is said.

 

We have to say to the young who are standing by that they are the first beneficiaries of their own generosity. Let’s remember what has been said in the Elderly Parliament celebrated in Luxembourg in 1993: “We were yesterday what you are today and tomorrow you will be what we are today.” Today’s solidarity has to be for everybody and forever. What is at stake is nothing less than the future generations. We will see if we are able to gather initiative and experience in one effort.

 

At that moment, I believe it is necessary to have sufficient courage to tell the truth. We have to unveil the silence in order to allow our collective conscience to breathe: the intergenerational dialogue is difficult and almost non-existent, and an obvious indifference prevails, and we talk a lot without listening? Certainly. We are all a little responsible for this situation that is not satisfactory for anybody, and we have the duty to renew it establishing a significant change of action.

 

Even though it is not generally understood this way, it is true that we, the elderly, don’t want any paternalistic or partial attitudes for us. Yes we want respect for our elderly condition and not compassion or pity. Obviously, we hope to get as soon as possible to worthy contributions and until then we have to accept some exclusive advantages that doesn’t mean a discrimination distinguishing or separating us from other generations. We admit a certain preferential treatment, not one of inferiority. The “candy” they offer us every day with good intentions (clubs and exclusive trips for retired and pensioners, special shows for elderly, etc.) is good for nobody if we have to enjoy it apart. We have to integrate ourselves into the other generations, not separate ourselves from them.

 

We can give our time, experience, loyalty and affection. To the family, friends, everybody. We can and we want to offer our time to the others. I know that the elderly are generous.

 

But it is obvious that, to all this, there will always be someone asking: “What do the elderly want? It would be the last straw if they would take away our rights. Aren’t they retired and receiving their pension? What else they want?” And for us, of course, being good and shut up, reading the newspaper at home or in the park everyday, playing cards in our local retired club, taking our grandsons to the day nursery, and waiting for the moment in which they decide to take us to a Residence. For us it is good, of course.

 

It is possible that time has come to begin another story that should be written with capital letters. We have to get ready for this. Our advantage is that our years allow us to see the whole road. They, the younger, can only see the first stretch. And we don’t want that those saying that they are listening to us would not take seriously our legitimate aspirations. It is important to take into account everybody’s feeling and the capacity to harmonize our proper necessities with the other’s ones. But let’s have hope and optimism, at least as a curative factor.

 

Then, we will give an account of our aspirations and necessities:

• The necessity of associationism is obvious, putting the associations into groups of federations in order to constitute a national confederation, in which, united in one voice, we could send and demonstrate to the leaders the respect for our legitimate rights and aspirations as a justice duty.

• We have to make possible a comprehensive and tolerant intergenerational culture that would improve the relations between different age people.

• The legislative regulation of the Labour Relations in Spain, law intended exclusively to the active personnel, includes a banning of a possible unconstitutionality: the one of uniting all the passive people with a syndicate. And actually what they are doing is to separate the retired when they see that we can affiliate ourselves to any good syndicate. Then, we are asking them to modify this law so that the retired and pensioners could participate in the Collective Agreement represented by their own syndicates in the subjects that might concern them.

• We consider that retirement pensions should not be subject to the same tribute as active work productivity, since, in reality, it is an accumulation of income that have already been paid during all the labour life.

• We claim the public support for the organisms of which depend the house and the sanitary assistance at home for the elderly living alone and who can’t do the daily basic activities by themselves. For this reason, we are asking for a Law of Protection of the Dependent Elderly.

• We have to provide to the personnel close to retirement the material and human resorts so they could get prepared, so that this new life step could be pleasant and not frustrating. We have to bear in mind that the life of these workers will be radically changed.

 

And nothing more. Finally, I will repeat what Balzac said: “The best of life are its illusions”.

 

 

Vicente GARNERO LLORET

Former President of the Federation of Confederate Savings Banks

Retired and Pensioners Associations