Hundreds of people demand that pensions be shielded in the Constitution

Hundreds of people have demonstrated this Saturday in Madrid to demand that pensions be shielded in the Constitution as a fundamental right of citizens instead of being, as until now, indicative. The march, which advanced from Puerta de Sol to Plaza Reina Sofía, demanded what they consider “the only measure” to avoid cuts and privatizations.

The demonstration has been called by the Board for the Shielding of Pensions (MERP), formed in 2013, and which brings together nearly 400 organizations eight years later. The MERP already managed to gather in Madrid in 2018 about 15,000 people, although this time they have stayed away from that call.

One of the spokespersons for the Board, Sara García de las Heras, has called for the “unity” of the Public Pension System in view of the “need for shielding”, to avoid cuts or privatizations in the face of reforms of different political signs. “If there were shielding, there would be no need to protest,” he said, because this mechanism would already guarantee the maintenance of the real purchasing power of public pensions, at the same time that it would prohibit touching, cutting back or totally or partially privatizing the system.

In the manifesto, which they have read at the end of the march, they have demanded an article that “includes as a constitutional obligation the maintenance of the real purchasing power of public pensions and, therefore, the impossibility of any type of measure or discrimination, either cuts, tax increases, copayments, increased rates for basic services, disability or any other may affect pensions, except those that are favorable to them. ”

Buses from different parts of Spain have arrived in Madrid. Teresa is retired and has traveled from Cantabria. “With the calculation that they want to do, 35 years old, you will see what pensions you will have left,” he says quickly. It refers to the Government proposal to extend the calculation period from 25 to 35 years, sent to Brussels, which has generated outrage among attendees and responses within the Executive itself, where Unidas Podemos has been against.

Although the protest was initially called to demand the constitutional shielding of pensions, the claims have been several. Also complaints. Among the banners have been read criticisms against the International Monetary Fund and the European Union that “threaten pensions” and against the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, whose resignation has been requested.

Another recurring demand has been that of decent minimum pensions. “There are people receiving a pension and living in poverty,” denounces a protester who demands “to be able to live with dignity when we reach old age.”

Karina Rodriguez, who is responsible for the hospitality sector of the FETICO union, also believes that it is important “to protect the future so that we can all have access to pensions.” According to the new tables, she has 20 years of work left and sees retirement “complicated.” “We have to force politicians to agree to find a system that reaches everyone,” he says.

Enrique Iza has arrived from Vitoria. He will retire “in seven years, hopefully.” “It is very difficult. It is a right that is claimed, but a solution must be found,” he says. Which? “We will have to pay more, which is what nobody likes,” he raises after ironizing that “we live many years.” Behind him, a group of protesters chant his proposal: “155 for pensions.”

While accessing the plaza of the Reina Sofía museum, Pilar Herrero defends convinced that taxes must be paid. “We are angry, but we will have to pay taxes for education, health, pensions … All these things come out of there,” he says, but the latter must be “shielded in the Constitution and that whoever governs is sacred”, because, he says, “the outlook for young people is very bad.” She is a pensioner, but she takes to the streets because “the oldest” have “always fought for the rights of all.” “I think if we don’t, this is going to have a bad ending,” he warns. Therefore, he asks the politicians to agree. “It seems that in the Toledo Pact they are not put, but they will have to be put,” he claims.

This march is supported by a manifesto signed by more than 150 personalities from the world of culture, politics and the economy and some 400 organizations. Fernando Trueba, Isabel Coixet, Joan Manuel Serrat, Miguel Ríos, Baltasar Garzón, Elvira Sastre, Javier Cercas, José Sacristán, Manuela Carmena, Mónica Oltra, Joan Baldoví, Cuca Sánchez, Mar Espinar or Marta Higueras, among others, have supported the text which requires the “express prohibition” to “cut or privatize totally or partially” the Public Pension System.


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