A train driver challenges Berset in the AHV “Arena”.

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“Pensioners steal sandwiches” – a train driver challenges Berset in the AHV “Arena”.

Alain Berset had to represent the yes camp in the AHV “Arena”. And so he was not only criticized by a train driver, but also by party colleague Mattea Meyer.

Voting will take place next weekend. Among other things, the electorate will decide on the AHV reform. If the draft is accepted, the retirement age for women will be raised by one year and will be 65, like for men.

Spoke in the “Arena” about poverty in old age: engine driver Hanny Weissmüller.

Screenshot: Arena

Left-wing circles in particular are bothered by an increase in the retirement age. They called the referendum, which is why the polls are going to be held.

Mattea Meyer is one of the people fighting most vehemently against the AHV reform. The SP co-president was a guest in the “Arena” on Friday evening and crossed swords with Alain Berset of all people. The SP Federal Council, as interior minister, represented the yes side.

And the Zurich national councilor was not exactly squeamish about her party colleague. When it came to whether the AHV reform was the starting signal to gradually increase the AHV age to 67, Meyer duly drove the Federal Council into the parade.

There is an initiative by the Young Liberals that call for an increase to 67, said Berset. But the Federal Council rejected this initiative without a counter-proposal. “That says it all,” said the Minister of the Interior.

Meyer reacted vehemently and said: «Okay, no. That doesn’t say everything! It really doesn’t work.” She read from the Federal Council’s message and was able to prove that the state government definitely wants to consider raising the retirement age above 65. Berset couldn’t reply and scratched his ear and nose in embarrassment.

Mattea Meyer counters Alain Berset

The 34-year-old also showed a strong performance in other respects and did the best advertising for the no-camp with a lot of heart and soul. “This template is not about me and my generation,” said the SP woman. “This is about my mother’s generation.”

When they entered the labor market, there were no affordable day-care centers and wage inequality was much greater. “Do we really want these women, who have done an incredible amount for equality in this country, to have to work a year longer and receive a year less pension as a thank you? Do you think that’s fair? Not me.”

Meyer’s opponent Regine Sauter from the FDP remained pretty pale throughout the evening. She was outshined by the second row of the yes camp. There sat the in a good mood Ruth Humbel (Die Mitte) and Diana Gutjahr (SVP).

“We are emancipated,” said Humbel and called for the retirement age for women to be raised in the interests of equality. “Let’s do this reform now and then go to the second pillar, so that women get better pensions where they have gaps.”

SVP politician Gutjahr addressed a point of the reform that, in her view, received far too little attention. “What bothers me about the discussion is that you never talk about flexibility.” With the template, it is possible to draw a partial pension and continue working part-time. In this way, one could create an incentive for people to stay longer in the work process. And that is urgently needed according to the SVP National Councilor. «We have a demographic change and we have a shortage of skilled workers!»

Diana Gutjahr on flexibility

Among the invited guests was Hanny Weissmüller, president of the locomotive staff within the SEV trade union. The locomotive driver talked about her life and an encounter with a Coop employee. They told her that there was always a lot of theft at the end of the month. At first she thought it was the boys. But that’s not the case. “Most of them are pensioners who steal sandwiches from the store to make ends meet. And that’s the problem with us.”

Train driver tells about stolen sandwiches

Federal Councilor Alain Berset also said that there was a “big problem” with old-age poverty. But that doesn’t mean you have to reject the reform. On the contrary. The example shows much more how important it is “to ensure sustainable and solid financing of the AHV”. That is why the reform is all the more important. “Simply doing nothing is not an option either,” says Berset.

Simply doing nothing is also not what Daniel Lampart, chief economist at the Swiss Confederation of Trade Unions, intended. However, he believes that if the vote is no, there will be enough time to work out another reform. He can’t do anything with the current template. “It’s such an unfair reform,” complained the trade unionist. “She saves, of all people, with those who have the lowest pension – these are the women.” Half of the women have less than 3,000 francs in pension and the savings exercise should now be carried out on their hump. “It’s unbelievable, I don’t know how you can make such a reform!”

Daniel Lampart is upset about the reform

The no camp also presented a few suggestions as to how the AHV could otherwise be saved – through a microtransaction tax or national bank funds, for example. Much more entertaining, however, were the suggestions from the “Arena” viewers who had arrived by e-mail before the broadcast.

These were:

“You could increase the car vignette to 100 francs.”

“A luxury tax would be fair. If you have a car, a house by the lake, other luxury goods, second homes and so on, you have to pay more taxes accordingly.”

“We should pay a billion less to the EU – then we’ll have enough money in the AHV fund.”

The emails from viewers made people smile in Studio 8 at Leutschenbach. But creative solutions will certainly be in demand in the future to keep the AHV on its feet. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a yes or a no on Sunday.

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