Thou­sands rally against Morocco pen­sion re­forms

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

RA­BAT — Thou­sands of Moroc­cans demon­strated on Sun­day in the cap­i­tal Ra­bat to protest against a new law rais­ing the re­tire­ment age from 60 to 63 for pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees.

The law to re­form state pen­sions, passed by a ma­jor­ity vote of 70 to 35 on Wed­nes­day, stip­u­lates that the change will be in­tro­duced grad­u­ally from next year.

Trade unions had mo­bilised since Jan­uary in an at­tempt to counter pen­sion re­form, ar­gu­ing that salaries would fall sharply by 20-40% when the new re­tire­ment age comes into ef­fect.

But the govern­ment has pressed ahead with the plan amid re­ports that the state pen­sion fund is on the brink of col­lapse with debts of more than 629 bil­lion dirhams ($56bn).

On Sun­day, the pro­test­ers gath­ered in cen­tral Ra­bat be­fore march­ing to­wards par­lia­ment, chant­ing “Free­dom, dig­nity, so­cial jus­tice!” an AFP correspondent said.

The demon­stra­tors called on the au­thor­i­ties to re­voke the law which they said would un­der­mine state pen­sion funds.

Prime Min­is­ter Ab­delilah Benki­rane ad­mit­ted on Thurs­day that the new law “is dif­fi­cult”.

“I thank the Moroc­can peo­ple for un­der­stand­ing the need for this law which is in their in­ter­est, al­though it is a dif­fi­cult one, and I ad­mit that,” he said. — AFP

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