Trade unions have reacted angrily to the decision by the government to curtail debate over pension reforms by using a constitutional mechanism to pass legislation by ordonnance rather than the normal parliamentary process. Some unions organised demonstrations across the country at short notice to underline their continuing opposition to the reforms. Others were concerned about the method used to close down debate when there are still major issues still to be resolved, particularly in relation to pension for workers in arduous occupations.
Unions condemn government's block on pensions debate
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Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Members of the FNV trade union voted 73% in favour of a new pensions agreement that slows down the increase in retirement age and allows for faster indexation of pensions. The retirement age will be set at 66 and four months and will rise more slowly. The agreement also takes account of the need for early retirement for arduous work and provides opportunities for the self-employed to access the scheme.
Trade union action against the government’s pensions proposals has continued across several sectors, particularly transport. The latest main national mobilisation against pension reform took place on 9 January. While not all trade union organisations are involved in the strike action and demonstrations, all are opposed in some way to the plans to merge pension arrangements across sectors and increase the retirement age and/or increase the number of years of contributions needed for a full pension. There are particular concerns about arduous work in some sectors, like sewage treatment, where