Workers and unions led strikes in Uruguay, on March 23, against the right-wing Luis Lacalle Pou government’s proposed pension reforms, which include raising the retirement age from 60 to 65.
Thousands flooded the streets of the capital Montevideo, marching from the country’s oldest public university to the Legislative Palace.
The strikes were called by the Inter-Union Plenary of Workers — National Convention of Workers (PIT-CNT) — the national trade union federation — and joined by workers in the banking, education, healthcare, housing and transport industry from public and private sectors.
PIT-CNT Executive Secretariat member Enrique Méndez, in his speech outside the Legislative Palace, condemned the pension reforms as “a bastion to continue hitting the most vulnerable sectors of our society”.
Méndez criticised the latest “brutal and criminal” reform and highlighted the importance of social security to the working class.
“[Social security] is a struggle that the masses led in the face of injustice, in the face of the unfair, unequal conditions of the market economy whose leitmotif, pure and simple, is to seek indiscriminate profit without thinking about social vulnerabilities.”
Méndez called on the government to abandon the bill and warned that workers will continue mobilising against the reform. The bill passed the country’s senate last December and is currently due to be voted on in the Chamber of Representatives.
[Green Left acknowledges Excluded Headlines in the making of this article, which provides news overlooked by mainstream Western media.]