Workers divided over boost in retirement age

Updated: 2012-06-28 20:06

By Chen Xin (

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Workers in China are split over whether they would like to see the age of retirement raised, a suggestion that is up for discussion in the nation's social security plans.

"I heard about the news," said 51-year-old Chen Wei, a worker at an auto parts factory in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality.

"As a worker who works almost 10 hours a day at an assembling line, another five or even two years of work after 60 would be hard for me."

Chen said he earns around 2,800 yuan ($440) a month and his peers who will retire this year can only receive nearly 1,000 yuan with a monthly pension.

"I do not expect much about the pension to change if I work two more years after 60. Anyway, the amount could only satisfy my basic living," he said.

The State Council recently released the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for social security, saying the country will "study policies to flexibly delay the age to receive a pension".

Currently in China, the retirement age for female workers is 50, female government officials 55, and male workers 60.

Although many experts believe it's time to consider raising the retirement age as Chinese people have an average life expectancy of 73.5 years - much higher than some 60 years ago when the retirement age policy was made - the government's proposal has received mixed views from the public.

Fu Wei, 55, who works in a hospital in Beijing, said he would be glad if the retirement age was deferred.

Fu is a division chief and now earns around 9,000 yuan a month.

"If I could work for another five years, maybe I would have the chance to climb to a higher status at the hospital and I could get higher pay, so I can get more pension when I retire," he said.

Tang Jun, a social policy researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said white-collar workers and those such as professors, doctors and technicians might welcome a raised retirement age, but not those who perform manual labor.

Officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said earlier in June that the country has no immediate plans to defer the retirement age and they would start related deliberations later this year.