Pope Francis on Wednesday, in a renewed call for social justice, said that older people should be made to work less or retire early to create employment for younger generations.
“There is an urgency for a new human social pact, a new social pact for work that should reduce working hours for those at the end of their working lives, to create work for the young, who have a right and a duty to work,’’ Francis said.
Speaking during an audience with Catholic-linked Italian trade union CISL, Francis said that “a society that forces old people to work for too long and forces an entire generation of young people not work is stupid and short-sighted’’.
Francis, who is 80, also criticised so-called “golden pensions,’’ which granted generous payments to selected categories of Italian workers, and said work must be accompanied by a “healthy culture of leisure which is not laziness, but a human necessity.’’
A critic of capitalist excess, the pope has often decried Europe’s youth unemployment crisis, saying it discourages young people from starting a family.
However, many economists denied that pushing older people out of the labour market would create jobs for the young.