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  •  Almost 700,000 Chileans voted in the non-binding citizen plebiscite

    Almost 700,000 Chileans voted in the non-binding citizen plebiscite | Photo: @NOmasAFPs

Workers were promised a rate of return of about 70 percent of their wage when they retired, but they only receive 20 to 30 percent of their wages.

Some 97 percent Chileans want to replace Chile's private pension system, according to the results of a non-binding plebiscite organized by the National Coordinator of NO + AFP, a civil society organization.

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The organization held a national plebiscite for a period of three days, starting Sept.29, in an effort to introduce a new "fairer" pension system.

According to the organization, the current system is to "constitutionally flawed in its origins."

Under this system, pensioners are required to deposit their retirement savings into individual accounts managed by the likes of privately operated Pension Fund Administrators, AFPs.

The system introduced in 1981 under Augusto Pinochet and was promoted by the so-called Chicago Boys — economists trained in the United States who implemented Chile's neoliberal economic model during the military dictatorship from 1973 to 1990.

Almost 40 years after it was implemented, the system of individual saving has failed to meet three of its initial promises, including, the hope that major companies in Chile could use the pension fund to invest in the national economy.

Workers were promised a rate of return of about 70 percent of their wage when they retired, but they only receive 20 to 30 percent of their wages.

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"This system has maintained huge inequalities in salary, with an index of social and economic inequality that has ranked Chile among the worst countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development," Alex Saphier Herrera, a union leader told teleSUR.

Under the current system, over 90 percent of Chilean pensioners receive pensions lower than US$233, nearly half of the current minimum wage (US$382) established in Chile.

According to N +AFP, 616,857 people voted for a "solidarity-sharing system" to replace the current Pension Fund Administrators.

The national organization stated that nearly 411,117 people participated in the plebiscite online and about 226,278 went to polling stations established in several locations throughout the South American country.

Chilean workers and citizens have organized several mass demonstrations for the past three years to protest the current pension system and demand a better system that works.

“Our grandparents are living in misery, they can't make ends meet at the end of the month, that's why the movement has received so much support from citizens,” said Saphier.


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