How old is too old to work

: Too old to work?


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The lean years began for Karl O. from Dortmund when the colliery he worked on closed in the recession year 1966. Jobs were in short supply. He went to stamp. For three years, because wherever he asked for work, he was told that he was too old. Karl O. was 53 at the time.

"Too old, too old! Some didn't tell me so directly, but they all meant the same thing." Friedhelm B. had a similar experience. When his leg had to be amputated after an industrial accident, the 39-year-old was also an old man. The company for industrial demolition, in which he had worked for almost ten years, did not want or could not offer the former Brenner sedentary employment. "I tried it as a crane operator - unfit, as a bottle inspector - unfit. For the longest time I went to stamps."

Karl O. and Friedhelm B. and fifteen other unemployed people have been working in the first GVB workshop in Dortmund for two months. GVB stands for "Society for the Improvement of the Employment Structure". This company, which was founded on the basis of a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the churches, the Ruhr Mining Association and Heinrich-Industrie- und Handels AG, wants to "help the unemployed older men and women (between the ages of 45 and 60), in particular also the long-term unemployed miners in the Ruhr area who, due to some disabilities, find it difficult to find work.

On the third floor of a factory building, made available free of charge by the Hoesch company, Friedhelm B. paints the seats of auditorium chairs, Karl O. works on a grinding machine. The workforce, which is still small for the time being, is expanding. Hall lost out. As soon as Düsseldorf can make more investment funds liquid, they want to create more jobs for a total of a hundred people.

The wages for the relatively simple assembly and locksmith work, especially those who have previously worked in mining or piecework, complain that it is too low. A miner who earned up to 1200 marks a month as a chopper and now has to be content with the collective wage of 3.65 marks per hour: "It's bad, when the old buddies go into the pub and you can't afford a beer yourself. "

The structural unemployment affects the older people harder than the younger ones. They are less mobile, are mostly tied to their place of residence and integrated into a circle of friends and relatives. A long journey to the workplace is out of the question for them for health reasons. Since it is only in the rarest cases that they can be placed in another economic area, for example to East Westphalia or to the Bergisches Land, where easy jobs are offered, the initiators of the planning of the GVB companies started from the consideration, not the people to transplant but the workplace. The additional costs that arise from the transport, loading and packaging of the products that are assembled or shaped in the factories are offset by the fifty percent wage subsidy granted by the Federal Employment Agency and Unemployment Insurance to all entrepreneurs who employ older workers.