Age discrimination – retirees fight for a life without the internet

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Life without the Internet is unthinkable for most people today, but many old people still live completely analogue. However, this life is becoming increasingly difficult for them. More and more official channels and other transactions are only possible online. Representatives of pensioners want to fight this development.

The pensioners’ association and the seniors’ council are launching an initiative against the ‘online-only’ policy and in favor of the right to analogue access options. Chairman of the Association of Pensioners Peter Kostelka (SPÖ) invites people to a “round table” on the subject of age discrimination on Wednesday. “Age discrimination is not a trivial offense. The elderly are literally left out and left behind. “That is not allowed,” said Kostelka.

The ‘online-only’ policy, especially in the public sector, is receiving particular criticism. “You can only apply for the repair bonus online, you can only obtain the professional bonus online, you will only receive financing for replacing the heating system after a complex online application and if you want to invest money with the Republic you even have to use the ID Austria app on a latest generation smartphone,” Kostelka lists examples and calls on the government “to act as a role model and not as a bad example.”

Without online banking, no more ATMs
Further examples: In Vienna you have to make an appointment online for official channels, for example for the passport office or the transport office. Some banks only send the code for the new debit card via internet banking. Without online banking, there is no more debit card!

The roundtable participants include representatives from the Office of the Ombudsman, anti-discrimination bodies, banks and insurance companies, as well as experts in aging research, consumer protection, IT and digitalization. The aim of the round table is to draw attention to age discrimination and find solutions to prevent age discrimination.

The constitution prohibits any form of discrimination
“Just as it is enshrined in the Federal Constitution that one shall not be discriminated against because of one’s gender or religion, it must also be enshrined in the Constitution that one shall not be discriminated against and excluded from social life because of one’s age.” Kostelka said.

ÖVP politician Ingrid Korosec, chairman of the Senior Council, has also been offensive about this issue for a long time. About the “Krone” she says: “With digitalization we experience completely new and serious forms of discrimination. We cannot accept that. We must respond to this immediately – also as a society as a whole.’ That is why the non-partisan roundtable conference has been invited for Tuesday.

Babler proposes setting up your own service points
The topic of ‘life without internet’ is not only the focus of the red senior representation. SPÖ leader Andreas Babler has also discovered this himself. This demand was central to his ‘With heart and brain’ speech in the Federal Party Council at the end of April. He demands the right to an analogue life. Official channels or purchasing a ticket should still be possible at a counter. All critical infrastructure services must be able to be handled locally. These include electricity and gas suppliers, postal partners, banks and insurance companies. Babler suggests setting up separate service points in communities where this can be done.

Source: Krone

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