Green Seniors FINLAND

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ENGS  Reino Lampinen 10 December 2016

Activities of the Green seniors in Finland

During this year our two associations, the nation wide Ikävihreätand the local Helsinki group, IKIVI (altogether c. 50 members)have concentrated on the resistance to two political issues:

- citizen initiative to raise the work pensions by modifying the index from today’s balanced one (80 % depending on the change of consumer costs and 20 % on the change of wages) to follow exclusively the wage index
- proposal by the Government to decrease the ratio of nursing personnel to the patients in care of the elderly from 0,5 to 0,4.

The citizen initiative that gets at least 50 000 signatures in six months will be handled and decided by the Parliament. This one was highly successful with 85 000 signatures. It was presented to the Parliament 8 November. The previous day Ikävihreät and the association of Young Greens and Students launched a common stance stating that the proposal would mean more support for the prosperous pensioners, no benefit for the poorest ones on the state basic pension (who’s pension index depend exclusive on the consumer price index). In addition, the only way to finance the raise of higher pensions would be raising the pension tariff (now in average 24 %) for those still in working life, and in particular for the younger generation.

Our common stance was not the only one. A very heated discussion was going on already last spring. You can imagine that very many seniors consider the initiative to be justified, in particular when they have very low pensions. Unfortunately they have not understood that the lower the pension is the lower or even nil would be the raise.

The Parliament will discuss the issue during winter.

We will report on the outcome later.

On the second issue: a few years earlier a study revealed that in mostlocal communities there were 0,7 to 0,8 nursing persons (nurses, doctors etc.) per seniors in home care, old persons’ homes or hospitals. The previous government gave a recommendation to decrease this ratio to 0,5. The aim by the present government to decrease it further was confronted by several associations, parties, research institutes etc., among them also our Ikävihreät. The government was forced to withdraw and it now it tries to find other means to save the corresponding amount, c. 70 M€.

 

Otherwise, during our almost monthly gatherings we have visited certain experimental or educational gardens, a Fund financing actions to save the Baltic Sea, a refuse power plant gathering all waste from the greater Helsinki area and providing 30 % of the energy needed in Vantaa, neighbouring community of Helsinki with c. 200 000 inhabitants, as well as listened expert lectures on climate negotiations and protection of forest nature. Finally, we must not forget about our annual summer and Christmas gatherings!

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