With the ruling party’s votes, the Uruguayan Senate approved the social security reform bill promoted by President Luis Lacalle Pou’s government, which increased the retirement age from 60 to 65, among other measures.
On Tuesday, after the Chamber approved modifications to the original text and with 17 votes in favor out of 28, the senators of the parties that compose the government coalition ratified the changes to the law, which will be sent to the Executive Branch for promulgation.
The bill, which has already become law, had been approved by the Senate in December last year and was awaiting a vote by the deputies, where objections from the right-wing Cabildo Abierto (CA) and the center-right Colorado Party (PC) forced Lacalle Pou’s government to negotiate.
Among other measures, PC and CA asked for the revision of widow and disability pensions and the reduction from 25 to 20 years of the “best years” measure to calculate the basic retirement salary.
Created with the support of a Commission of Social Security Experts before being sent to Parliament in October 2022, the reform was described as “necessary” and “supportive” by Lacalle Pou, who highlighted its approval as one of the main priorities of his mandate.
However, it was supported neither by the left-wing coalition Frente Ampla (Broad Front), which governed between 2005 and 2020, nor by the unions.
Thousands of workers in areas such as health, transportation, and education mobilized on Tuesday in Uruguay in the context of the general strike called by the trade union central PIT-CNT to show their rejection of the government’s pension reform project, which they consider “socially ineffective” and “against the people”.
On the day the bill was voted on in the Chamber, critics gathered in front of the Legislative Palace to protest.
At the site, PIT-CNT spokesman Sergio Sommaruga denounced the project of a government that, according to him, does not listen to the workers and only takes into account the benefit of “a privileged minority.”
“This reform is not for the people, but against the people.”
“It is neither fair nor democratic, much less supportive, and it is also socially ineffective,” he stressed, stating that this will mean that the majority will have to “work until 65” to be able to retire.
Another concern of the social collectives is that the reform will accentuate “the problem of youth unemployment” by delaying the replacement of workers, as stated by its president, Marcelo Abdala, to the newspaper “El País”.
With information from Jovem Pan