Czechs protest government bid to raise retirement age
PRAGUE (AP) — Czech labor unions on Wednesday joined with opposition parties to protest the government’s proposed bid to raise the retirement age by four years to 68.
Some 2,000 protesters gathered Wednesday in front of government offices in the capital Prague to voice their opposition to the plan.
“We definitely don’t agree,” read a letter ratified at the gathering. “We will defend ourselves,” Roman Durco, the head of the KOVO labor union group that organized the rally told the angry crowd.
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurecka recently appeared to backpedal on the original pension reform proposal but his ministry said in a statement said that the retirement age raise remains on the negotiating table.
The government has yet to finalize the pension reform plan it says is necessary to make the system viable.
Leaders from opposition parties with and without seats in parliament took part in the demonstration, including Andrej Babis, the populist billionaire chief of the centrist ANO (YES) party, the anti-migrant Direct Democracy Party and the far-left Communist party.
Babis, a former prime minister, called on unions to stage large protests, pledging his support.
A recently approved plan in France raising the retire age from 62 to 64 caused ongoing massive nationwide protests.