Unions Protest against Pension Reform Plans

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 20, 2018 – Several thousand people rallied in downtown Zagreb on Saturday for a protest against the government’s pension reform proposal, organised by three trade union federations.

Insisting that the proposed reform leads to poverty, the SSSH, NHS and MHS trade union federations call for restoring the retirement age for old-age pension to 65, dropping plans to raise the retirement age for long-time insurees, and making penalisation of early retirement less strict.

The unions have said that they will launch a referendum campaign unless the government supports their demands.

The unions also call for sanctioning employers who force their workers to retire early and believe that 60 years of age and 41 years of service are quite sufficient for old-age pension without penalisation.

The unions oppose plans to reduce contributions to the first pension pillar, which is public and based on inter-generational solidarity, and increase contributions to the second pension pillar, which is based on capitalised pension savings managed by private pension funds.

The unions believe that pensions for special categories of insurees should be separated into a special pension pillar and aligned with general retirement rules. They insist that if the government’s pension reform proposal passes, workers’ contributions will be the source of financing of various interest groups, of which there are currently as many as 19.

The unions warn that people who are unable to work until 67 will receive pensions that will be up to 20% lower, and that even people with 41 years of service will not be able to retire before they turn 62.

The protesters carried banners reading “You are taking from the poor to give to the rich”, “Expect resistance, this is just the beginning”, “We want a Croatia for workers, not just politicians”, “From school to unemployment service, from work to graveyard”, “What we have built you have plundered”, “Penalisation – Road to Poverty”.

The national union of train drivers supported the rally, making trains stand still for a minute and sounding their sirens. The rally was also supported by the SHU pensioners’ union and some opposition parties.


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