The Swiss Trade Union Union (USS) is launching a popular initiative to involve the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in the financing of the AVS. She sees in this solution an alternative to the regular attacks of Parliament against pensions.
Today, AVS pensions are not following the rise in the cost of living and those of the 2nd pillar (LPP) are in free fall. The USS believes that an increase is really necessary. It therefore asks that when the SNB reaps exceptional profits, it pays part of it to insurance.
The money is there, said Friday the president of the USS Pierre-Yves Maillard during an assembly of extraordinary delegates. The SNB fund for equalizing future distributions of profits to the Confederation and the cantons is endowed with more than 100 billion francs.
A distribution in favor of the AVS is also justified because the negative interest rates of the SNB have had negative effects for retirement provision in the second pillar. From 2015 to 2020, the SNB earned CHF 10.1 billion thanks to them. By the end of 2021, this figure should be close to 11 billion.
The independence of the SNB guaranteed
The popular initiative of the USS, accepted almost unanimously by the delegates, asks that in the event of profit and reserves for important distributions, a part of this profit is paid to the AVS. The text guarantees the independence of the National Bank in terms of monetary policy.
It is in no way intended to fundamentally revise the regulation of distributions, nor does it restrict the SNB in its investments, for example so that it obtains a certain return. The distribution of profits to the AVS will only take place if the reserves of the SNB are particularly high.
In addition, all revenue from negative interest must be paid in one go to the AVS fund. The text will not affect the provisioning policy of the SNB, nor the distribution of profits to the cantons. Currently, cantons and Confederation receive 6 billion francs. The collection of signatures is planned for this spring.
Financing of the 13th pension
The contribution of the SNB would make it possible to finance the 13th AVS pension that the unions wish to introduce. Their initiative for this additional pension has already succeeded. The trade unions estimate the distribution potential of the SNB at 8 to 10 billion francs per year. Once deducted the 6 billion for the cantons and the Confederation, it would remain between 2 and 4 billion per year for the AVS.
However, this manna would not be enough to cover all the needs of the AVS by 2045. The USS also provides for an increase in employee contributions. According to his calculations, an increase of one percentage point would yield 3.6 billion per year. Regular payments from the SNB would reduce the drain on wages.
Rejected in the AVS21 reform
In Parliament, the National Council had accepted a UDC motion asking to include the profits that the SNB derives from negative interest in the financing of insurance. However, the proposal did not pass the ramp to the Council of States, which expressed fears for the independence of the Central Bank.
The AVS21 reform adopted by the Chambers in December provides for an increase in the retirement age for women from 64 to 65 years old. Compensation will accompany this increase for nine years. The left does not want it and launched the referendum. The people will have the last word.
For Pierre-Yves Maillard, the hardenings in terms of AVS are already on the table. The initiative of the Young Liberal-Radicals for raising the retirement age first to 66, then linked to the evolution of life expectancy will be discussed this year.
“Today, the AVS is not in financial disarray”, underlined the Vaudois. But credible financing solutions are needed to increase benefits.