Law enforcement unions staged protests on Congress against pension reform Tuesday afternoon. Police protesters lit cardboard tombstones on fire on the Parliament lawn, signifying the danger of their job. Others broke windows with street cones in attempts to invade the government building. The Legislative Police tried to fend off law enforcement protesters with blockades and tear gas bombs.
However, the pressure seemed to work. Rep. Arthur Maia, the reform’s rapporteur, lowered the minimum retirement age for law enforcement agents from 60 to 55.
Furthermore, Maia lowered the general retirement age for women from 65 – the current age for men – to 62. As a result of these concessions, the pension reform will save the government 20 percent less in public expenses than originally planned.
Some better than none
Just last month, Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said that any concessions to the reform would render it pointless. Now, however, Meirelles supports passing at least 70 percent of the measures.
Currently, there is no minimum retirement age for law enforcement agents. Male police officers can retire after 35 years of work and women after 30 years. Police unions argue that their members should benefit from the same retirement requirements as the military, for which the government is creating a separate pension reform bill.
However, Maia states that this would only be possible if the two sectors required the same physical efforts. Even after reducing the retirement age for police officers to 60 years with 20 years of active service, they wanted more concessions. Time will tell if the latest change in measures will satisfy their demands.