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Spanish retirees demand fair pensions in nationwide mass protests

Europe
17.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Madrid (dpa) - Tens of thousands of retirees took to the streets in cities across Spain on Saturday as part of an unprecedented mobilization to call for fairer pensions.

Despite heavy rain in Madrid, a massive march made its way through the centre of the Spanish capital, with labour unions estimating that half a million had taken part in the protest.

In Barcelona, ??the capital of Catalonia saw some 30,000 pensioners in the streets, according to police.

The catalyst for the discontent among Spanish pensioners was the 0.25-per-cent increase to pensions for the fifth consecutive year, which translates into an increase of between 2 and 6 euros (2.50 and 7.40 dollars) per month.

"It is an embarrassment, we are outraged," a group of women told dpa during the protest in Madrid. "The cost of living has gone up a great deal, and my pension by only one and a half euros," said one.

"Every year we lose purchasing power," said Luis Gutierrez, a 68-year-old pensioner. "Pensions should be adjusted to the rise in prices of basic products such as gas, electricity, telephones or food."

Amid increasing pressure in recent days, particularly after a mass protest on February 22 in front of Madrid‘s national legislature, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy convened a special session on pensions in the Congress of Deputies last Wednesday.

During the meeting, Rajoy pledged to include an increase to minimum pensions and widows‘ pensions in the year‘s federal budget, which has yet to be approved.

 

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