Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/309/12628

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 July 2003

"Stop The Reform Or We Will Stop The Country"

TRADE UNIONISTS in France and Austria have fought major battles this year to stop their right-wing governments attacking workers' pension rights.

Cutting welfare provision is an objective of capitalism internationally, but as the report from Marcus Kollbrunner in Brazil shows, workers there too are fighting back.

ON 8 JULY an estimated 350,000 civil servants in Brazil went on an indefinite strike against the pension 'reforms' proposed by the Lula government.

The reforms will mean lower pensions for civil servants; increased pension contributions; make the period of contributions payment longer; increase the retirement age and open up private pension funds.

The strike, the first against the government led by president Luis Inácio "Lula" da Silva from the Workers' Party (PT), was called by eleven trade unions that organise civil servants employed by the federal state. It involved around 40% of the workers on the first day of action.

For many years the PT blocked efforts by the previous government of president Cardoso to attack pensions.

Cardoso managed to implement cuts in pensions in his Amendment 20 in 1998 and many supporters of the PT expected that a Lula government would reverse these attacks.

Instead Lula is now implementing all the attacks that Cardoso did not manage to carry out!

Government tries to divide workers

The government is trying to divide workers by saying that the civil servants are "privileged" compared to workers in the private sector. Lula has demagogically stated, "sugar cane cutters have no pension rights".

It is true the pensions in the private sector are very low or even non-existent. 65% of workers retired from the private sector get only the meagre level of minimum wage, 240 reais (85 US dollars). 40 million people from a total workforce of 70 million do not have any pension rights at all.

What should be done is to give them decent pensions, not attack the pension of civil servants.

The attack on pensions is consistent with the policies of the Lula government of sticking to International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreements and 'calming' the financial markets with austerity measures.

The usual argument used by governments for attacking pensions around the world is that the 'generous' pensions cannot be sustained.

In Brazil it is claimed that the public pensions run at a big deficit. But the social security system, including other social benefits like sick pay, has a surplus that now is used to pay debt service to the banks.

The real villains are the big companies and banks that owe a total of 180 billion reais (65 billion US dollars) to the social security system. Eight of the biggest debtors are in the Council of Social and Economic Development that Lula initiated as a vehicle for social pacts, and which discusses proposals like the 'new' pension system!

Lula presented the pension changes on 30 April, with the support of the 27 state governors that will adjust their pensions systems to the federal state.

That has already been felt by the civil servants in São Paulo, where the governor, Alckmin, has increased the contribution from workers to the pensions from 6% to 11% of their wages - in practice it means lowering wages by 5%.

United struggle needed

The main beneficiaries of Lula's reforms are the financial sector and banks that will get lots of new capital to their funds.

The new pension will not end the real privileges in society. High court judges and high-ranking military personnel will continue to have big pensions - and, of course, so will the politicians.

The government is trying to rush through the new system and hopes to have a vote by August, before the opposition grows too big.

On 11 June 40,000 marched in the capital Brasilia against the proposal. They demanded: "Stop the reform or we will stop the country".

Ministers that tried to defend the proposal were shouted down. Even the newly elected leader of CUT (Brazilian trade union congress) was not able to speak.

The majority of the CUT leadership is in favour of the pension changes; they only propose some amendments.

The CWI section in Brazil, Socialismo Revolucionario, calls for a total rejection of the pension 'reform'.

The PT left must vote no to the proposal and build for a united struggle of the public and private sector workers to fight for a decent pension for all workers.

To win that the PT must break with the IMF and stop paying the debt, but also nationalise the banks, financial institutions and big companies.


The full version of this article is on the CWI website, www.socialistworld.net

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 19 July 2003:

Tony Blair: Time To Go!

Devon Bus Workers Fight Low Pay

Right Wing Booed Out Of PCS Leadership

Say No To Poverty Wages

Iraq Watch:

Whipps Cross hospital workers: "Where we fight, we win"

Asylum Seekers Fear Repression

Kirklees Nursery nurses: United Action Gave Us Confidence

Fight For Trade Union Rights In Colombia


Socialist Party features

Low Pay - No Way!

Reclaiming Feminism?

Weapons of mass destruction: A Web Of Lies From Day One

Gay Rights Aren't Only For Bishops

Genetic engineering: Science And Big Business


International socialist news and analysis

Kazakhstan: Foundry workers fight for nationalisation of factory

Africa in Crisis: Development reversed by Capitalism

"Stop The Reform Or We Will Stop The Country"


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 July 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Brazil:

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Brazil - Bolsanaro and the rise of the far right

triangleBrazil: The Threats, attacks and contradictions of Bolsonaro's regime

triangleBrazil: Hundreds die in avoidable dam collapse

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Brazil after Bolsonaro's election

Pension:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleCuts and NHS crisis result in 'excess' elderly deaths

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBritish Gas workers need rank-and-file leadership

Pensions:

triangleYoung and old, unite and fight!

triangleSupport the Glasgow Airport pay and pensions strike

triangleVisteon: when factory occupations stayed the hands of the bosses

Lula:

triangleBrazil: Lula conviction confirmed

Banks:

triangleWhat lies behind the US-China trade war?

International

International

22/5/19

Abortion

Reject Alabama abortion ban

22/5/19

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka - Ten years after the brutal end of the war

22/5/19

World economy

What lies behind the US-China trade war?

21/5/19

Nigeria

Nigeria: Action needed to free Abiodun Bamigboye!

15/5/19

Sudan

Revolution and counter-revolution in Sudan

8/5/19

Spanish state

Spanish elections - new upheavals underline need for a revolutionary socialist alternative

1/5/19

France

France Telecom: Privatisation in the dock

1/5/19

Travel

Scandinavian Airlines walkout disrupts Nordic air travel

1/5/19

India

India General election shows crying need for independent socialist alternative

22/4/19

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: No to terrorist bombing

17/4/19

Sudan

Sudan: No to rule of the generals!

10/4/19

China

China: police state in Xinjiang under global spotlight

10/4/19

Algeria

Algeria: Bouteflika is finished but the Algerian revolution is not!

3/4/19

Trump

Mueller report underlines Democrats' weakness

27/3/19

Algeria

Algeria uprising: 'We stay here until the whole system goes'

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999