“What promises did the Socialist Party make, what promises did Vooruit make, before the election? ‘We will not enter a government if the pension age remains at 67’. What did the Greens say? ‘Increase pensions, not the pension age’. This is what they said. But the pension age remains fixed at 67, and the PS and the Vooruit have entered government, as have Ecolo and Groen. And all have reneged on their electoral promises ”, affirmed the president of the radical left party, during the festival Manifesta organized this weekend in Ostend by the PTB and its organizations, the association Médecine pour le Peuple and the magazine Solidaire.
“We have three months to move the lines. We have three months to press for a fair pension reform, and we will do it, ”Mr Mertens told several thousand PTB members and supporters.
“In the past, people with a difficult job could take their early pension at 56 or 58 years old. This is over. It’s from the past. Minister Lalieux’s new pension plan makes people work longer. Almost all systems that allow an earlier shutdown are restricted or blocked. The minister is now saying that you should be able to retire at 60+ if you have a 42-year career. But having 42 years of work by the age of 60, hardly anyone makes it. You have to have started at 18, so you must not have studied, not have repeated a year, not have worked part-time and not have taken breaks for the children or to care for an elderly parent. So that doesn’t happen, ”added Mertens.
Three months to step up pressure on the government
“In December, the government wants to come back with a new plan. We have three months to move the lines. We have three months to push for fair pension reform, and we will, ”said Mertens.
The PTB wants the pension age to be lowered to 65 and that people who want to be entitled to early pension from age 60, after 35 years of career – which is not in the draft plan for pensions recently presented by Ms. Lalieux and which has drawn criticism from other members of the coalition in power at the federal level.
In his speech, Mr. Mertens also shot a few arrows at the attention of the separatists of the N-VA and Vlaams Belang: – the two main parties in Flanders – after the deadly floods in mid-July in Wallonia. “In the flooded cellars of Verviers, in the waters of the Vesdre, I saw the real Belgium, the Belgium from below. When we help each other, everyone speaks the same language. The language of the bucket which passes from hand to hand, and which says without words what everyone knows: that is solidarity, that is our country, ”said the president of the PTB-PvdA.
And to add: “a raindrop is federal until it hits the ground, then it becomes a Walloon or Flemish raindrop. Or Brussels. The separatists even split the raindrops. It is also because of that we did not warn of the floods in time. Let us make it so that the IRM can speak again about the floods and make water management a federal matter again ”.
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