Thousands in Yerevan protest new pension law -
Several thousand people rallied in Yerevan’s Liberty Square and then marched through the Armenian capital’s central streets today in a show of protest against the enactment of a controversial pension law that is being contested at the Constitutional Court.
Under one of the provisions of the law in question all workers in Armenia aged below 40 must pay five percent of their salaries to privately owned pension funds in addition to social security taxes paid by their employers.
Not only citizens receiving low wages, but also many young professionals in high-paying jobs, such as in the information technologies sector, appear unhappy with the new legislation that the government believes is the only alternative to today’s so-called “generational solidarity” system in which senior citizens get their pensions at the expense of social payments provided by employed citizens.
The civil initiative called Dem.Am (I’m Against) as well as four minority factions in the Armenian parliament, including the Armenian National Congress, Heritage, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Prosperous Armenia Party, denounced the measure and demanded that the Court recognize it unconstitutional when it starts consideration of their claim later this month.
After the rally during which representatives of all mentioned forces had speeches, calling for unity in the struggle and criticizing the government for its policies, a march towards Republic Square and back was also held.
The main criticism of the law is that citizens have to start paying from their meager salaries now for what the authorities promise will be a secure pension plan when they retire at age 63. Besides, many believe that the mandatory component violates citizens’ rights and contradicts the Constitution.