Retirees Protest In Midst of Intense Security Measures
|Tuesday, October 28,2008 08:33|
The Movement for Defending Pension Holders organized a protest in front of the National Social Insurance Authority in downtown Cairo in which hundreds of pension holders participated, in the midst of intensified security measures, to protest against the constitutional court"s failure to execute rulings no. 153 and 310.
The angry protestors yelled cries against the Minister of Finance Botros Ghali accusing him of taking the insurance money and investing it in stocks, hence exposing it to the risk of loss. Signs were also held up reading, "I"m retired and sick. Will I get back my rights alive or after I"m dead?," and "Where and when will the constitutional laws 153 and 310 be executed?"
Protestors further condemned the procrastination of the Ministry of Finance in executing the law while it had previously executed others for their interest issued by the same court.
The movement"s leader Qutb Fayeq Hasan said that an appointed body had told them that the problem was on its way to being resolved, which also security officials had promised during proceedings prior to the protest. Hasan added that the movement"s administration decided to refuse meeting with any official from the Ministry of Finance who does not have a solution, and that any official they will meet must come at the appointed time to pay them the remaining 5%.
Hasan also pointed out that they have sent telegrams to the President requesting him to intervene especially since the majority of protestors are old-aged or sick and people who have served the country.
Hasan explained that ruling no. 153, issued in the year 2005, was for those who had retired before reaching 50 years of age and were deprived from their right to five allowances which ruling no. 310, issued in 2008, restored to them and judged the 5% discount on the pension of early retirees unconstitutional.
One of the movement"s members, Bayyoumi Abdul-Rahim, explained that article 12 of the Social Insurance Law was added to hinder early retirement adding that when the privatization policy was adopted, thousands of workers were laid off, thus many of the early retirees had lost their rights to allowances which makes the 5% discounts on their pensions unjust.
Mohamed Ali El-Meligy, a worker who retired early from the Nasr Company for Glass and Crystals said that he earns only 550 pounds for him and his family and that it is not enough to meet their life"s increasing needs.
Similarly, a number of women from Latex Company expressed their inability to face life"s hardships under the increasing burdens.
This was the third protest in the current month of October organized after Insurance officials promised to pay their dues and additional 5% to pension holders on the beginning of October. The Popular Committee for Insurance and Pension Protection is also expected to organize a strike in front of the North Cairo Court in Abbasiyyah as it looks into the case of equality between workers and retirees.